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BY ^* 


Translated from the Italian and Edited by 
Janet Ross 


Paternoster Square 

{All Rights reserved.] 


At the request of my wife and family I begin to-day, 
Sunday, the 15th January 1893, to dictate my memoirs. 
I shall incorporate with them historical events in which 
I had a part, or which passed under my eyes. Until my 
eightieth year I read without glasses, but gradually my 
sight has failed and I am almost blind, so my wife will 
be my secretary. I shall dictate and recount — she will 
write. We shall make use of the letters I regularly wrote 
to her during the campaigns of 1859, i860 and 1866 ; and 
also of some hastily-written notes, jotted down, chiefly 
at her request, between 1870- 1885, of impressions and 
thoughts, of facts witnessed by me, and details about 
the celebrated men who were my contemporaries. 

The work will not, I think, be easy ; as having never 
thought of transmitting to posterity any account of my 
own times, and still less of my own life, I never collected 
or arranged my numerous records or the documents 
bearing upon them. I have narrated much and written 
a few things, but always in a desultory fashion ; and my 
secretary will have enough to do to keep me in order 


and make me attend strictly to chronology. However, 
I will do my best in order to please my dear ones. 

I shall try to recall the memories of a past which I 
love for several reasons — my good fortune at witnessing 
the awakening of the noble idea of an independent and 
united Italy — seeing it realised, chiefly by the exertions 
of men belonging to the small and gallant country where 
I, my forebears and my grandchildren were born — and for 
the active part I took in nearly all the important events 
which have happened between 1848 and 1870. 

But I particularly wish to remind those who one 
day may read these memoirs that they were written 
solely in deference to the wishes of my own family, and 
that I never had any idea of making a historical or a 
literary work, or of imposing my judgments or appre- 
ciations, still less, of weaving panegyrics or destroying 
idols. I consider that some of my contemporaries were 
superior to the reputation they enjoyed, while others 
were praised beyond their deserts. I have always, 
without adulation for the first, or bad feeling towards 
the latter, expressed my opinion frankly and in all 

October 1896. 



I 807 -I 820 


Birth — Family — My First Memories: 181 1, '12, '13, '14, '15 — 
Victor Emanuel I. — Marie Theresa of Este — Prince Charles 
Albert of Carignano — 18 16 — I become a Page: Entry into 
the Military Academy — Marriage of the Prince of Carignano — 
First Revolutionary Symptoms — Birth of Victor Emanuel II. — 
Pages and Their Duties, ...... I 



Fire during a Ball at Court — The Prince of Carignano and the Revolu- 
tion — Opinions concerning the Prince in the time of Charles 
Felix — The Revolution of the 12th of March — Abdication of 
Victor Emanuel I. — His Departure — Charles Albert as Regent 
— The Constitution — The Pupils go to Superga — My Escape, 
with other Boys, to Fight the Austrians — Our Capture — Sojourn 
at Superga — Exile of Charles Albert — Battle of Novara and 
Return of Charles Felix to Turin — Victor Emanuel I. at Mon- 
calieri — Charles Albert goes to Spain to Fight the Constitu- 
tionalists — He returns to Turin — I am a Sub- Lieutenant — Some 
of my Companions at the Academy : La Marmora, Cavour, 
Cavalli — I enter the General Staff, . . . .14 



The StaflF— General Paolucci — Death of King Charles Felix — Acces- 
sion of Charles Albert — His Character — Life at Racconigi — 
Young Italy — My Journey to Sardinia — Bear Hunting with 
Duke of Savoy, ....... 26 


1 840- 1 84 1 

Rumours of War — My Secret Mission to France — Am named First 
Equerry to Duke of Savoy — His Shooting Parties — His Dis- 
like of La Marmora — His Marriage, . . . .34 



1842- 1847 


Maria Adelaide — Private Life of Victor Emanuel — My Relations with 
Him — Maria Elizabeth visits Her Brother Charles Albert — His 
Melancholy increases — His Uncertain Policy — Election of Pope 
Pius IX.— Meeting of Agrarian Society at Casale— Charles 
Albert grants Reforms — Birth of Maria Pia of Savoy, . . 40 



Genoese Deputation — Cavour as Editor of the Risorgimento — Duke of 
Savoy disguised among the Mob — Baron La Tour — Charles 
Albert grants the Constitution — Carnival Time in Turin — Re- 
volution in Paris and Vienna, the * Five Days ' of Milan and 
the Rising in Venice — War is declared — I am named Colonel 
and Chief of the Staff to Victor Emanuel — The King takes 
Command of the Army — The Austrians retire towards the Adige 
— An attempt to besiege Peschiera — Pastrengo — The Austrians 
retreat on Verona — Battle of Santa Lucia — We retreat, . . 49 


1 848 — continued 

My Plan to prevent a Junction between Radetzky and Nugent — Spys 
at Villafranca — We concentrate at Valeggio — The Austrians 
attack Us — Victor Emanuel is Wounded — Fall of Peschiera — 
Radetzky takes Vicenza — We blockade Mantua — Battle of Custoza 
— We retreat on Goito — King refuses Armistice — We retreat on 
Milan — Tumults in Milan — Capitulation — We evacuate Milan, . 68 



Vigevano — Armistice signed at Milan — General Bava's Account of the 
Campaign — Is dismissed and succeeded by General Czarnowsky 
— His Plans — I am named Major-General — Our Retreat on 
Novara — Hard Fighting at Bicocca — We are driven back on 
Novara — Charles Albert abdicates — Victor Emanuel becomes 
King — I rally Fugitives — Am called to Turin by Victor Emanuel 
and become Minister of War, . . . . .89 


1849 — continued 

The First Ministry of King Victor Emanuel — Stormy Scene in the 
Chambers — Revolt in Genoa — Disbanding the Lombard Legion 
— General Ramorino condemned and shot — Victor Emanuel and 
Radetzky meet — Negotiations for Peace — D'Azeglio becomes 
Prime Minister — Peace is ratified — Death of Charles Albert — 
I leave the Ministry and Marry, . . . , .102 



END OF 1849-55 


Life at Moncalieri — Parliament dissolved — New Chambers ratify Treaty 
with Austria — Marriage of Duke of Genoa — Enmity of Foreign 
Powers — Sir James Hudson — Stormy Debates on Ecclesiastical 
Matters — Cavour becomes Prime Minister — Death of Duke of 
Genoa, . . . . . . . .111 



Death of Queen Maria Theresa — Death of Queen Maria Adelaide and 
Her Child — Expedition to the Crimea — Victor Emanuel visits 
Paris and London — Napoleon advises Him to Marry again — I am 
sent to Dasseldorf — Countess Castiglione's Jewels — Prescience of 
Cavour — Mazzini attempts to seize the Arsenal at Genoa — Sends 
• Conspirators to Padula, . . . . . .118 


1858. BEGINNING OF 1859 

Orsini attempts Life of Napoleon HI. — I am sent as Ambassador Extra- 
ordinary to Paris — Anger of the Emperor — Victor Emanuel's 
Letter — Princess Mathilde at the Tuilleries Ball — Napoleon 
promises His Aid against Austria — The Treaty of Plombieres — 
Am named Head of the General Staff — Declaration of War — 
French Troops arrive in Piedmont — Incapacity of Giulay — 
Garibaldi takes Command of Volunteers — Victor Emanuel re- 
ceives Tuscan Deputation, . . . . .127 



Arrival of Napoleon — Montebello — Concentration of Allied Armies — 
Garibaldi's Victories — Palestro — Victor Emanuel and the Zouaves 
— Retreat of the Austrians — Magenta — Victor Emanuel accepts 
Sovereignty of Lombardy — I follow Urban, but am stopped by 
Desvaux, ........ 139 


1859 (third part) 

Entry into Milan — Te Deum in Cathedral — We enter Brescia — De- 
putations from Trent and Bologna — The Empress advises 
Napoleon to return to France — Solferino — S. Martino — We 
invest Peschiera — Austrians send Flag of Truce — Armistice — 
Violent Scene between Victor Emanuel and Cavour — Cavour 
resigns — Napoleon and Victor Emanuel enter Milan — Cold 
Reception at Turin, . . , . . .153 





Marshal Vaillant — Napoleon objects to the Annexation of Tuscany — 
Cavour returns to Power — Persuades Napoleon to agree to 
Annexation of Tuscany— I am named Commander of the 5th 
Army Corps — Annexation of Tuscany, Emilia, and the Romagna 
— Garibaldi upbraids Cavour, . . . . .169 



The King visits New Provinces — Sends me to Compliment the ex- 
Duchess of Lucca at Viareggio — Embarkation of the ' Thousand ' 
for Sicily — Our March into Umbria — Cardinal Antonelli and 
Cavour — Siege and Capitulation of Perugia — Execution of Priest 
— Siege of Ancona — Arrival of Victor Emanuel at Ancona, . 176 


Plibiscite at Sulmona — Immorality of the Neapolitans — Garibaldi at 
Capua — His Noble Conduct — Siege and Capitulation of Capua 
— Garibaldi Dictator of Naples — Victor Emanuel enters Naples 
— Miracle of San Gennaro — Mazzini and the two Dumas', . 191 



Victor Emanuel impatient for the Fall of Gaeta — He induces Me to 
accept the Military Command of the Two Sicilies — Prince 
Eugene of Carignano Viceroy of Kingdom of Naples — Brigandage 
— Bribery — Death of Cavour, ..... 203 



I go to Berlin as Ambassador Extraordinary — Coronation of William 
I. — The Earl of Clarendon offers His Services — Napoleon 
demands a Guarantee, . . . . . .212 



Riots in Turin — Police fire on the People — ' Rome or Death ' — I invite 
Minghetti to resign — La Marmora Prime Minister — Ricasoli 
appeals to the Patriotism of the Piedmontese Deputies, . . 219 





The Mob insults the King's Guests — The King leaves for Florence — 

Closer Alliance with Prussia, ..... 227 


1866 (first part) 

False Statements of the Austrian Cabinet — Mobilisation of our Army 
— A Newspaper Correspondent — Declaration of War by Prussia 
and Italy — We cross the Mincio, ..... 233 



Defective Reconnaissance — Prince Humbert under Fire — I search in 
vain for the Commander-in-Chief — I am ordered to hold Villa- 
franca — Our Retreat towards Goito — I.a Marmora throws up 
His Command — Our Fatal Mistakes, .... 242 


1866 (third part) 

Disastrous Telegrams — Cialdini takes Command of 150,000 Men — I 
. Command a Reconnaissance in Force — It is Countermanded — 
General Austrian Retreat after Sadowa — Prussia Signs Pre- 
liminaries of Peace without consulting Italy — Prince Jerome 
Napoleon — La Marmora compelled to ask for an Armistice — 
We are threatened by France and Prussia — La Marmora sacri- 
fices His Popularity, ...... 257 


I 866- I 867 

Cialdini Chief of the Staff of the Army — Illness of Victor Emanuel — 
La Marmora retires to Private Life — Annexation of Venetia — 
Enthusiastic Reception of Victor Emanuel in Venice — Marriage 
of Prince Amadeus of Savoy — Death of Count di Castiglione, . 270 



1867- 1870 


Garibaldi preaches Rebellion, is Imprisoned, then sent to Caprera — 
Escapes and beats the Papal Troops at Monte Rotondo — 
Mentana — Marriage of Prince Humbert and Princess Margaret 
of Savoy — Alarming Illness of the King — Birth of the Prince of 
Naples — Rome, Capital of Italy, . . . . . 277 


EPILOGUE— 1871-1893, 286 

Autobiography of a Veteran 



Birth — Family — My First Memories: 181 1, '12, '13, '14, '15 — Victor 
Emanuel I. — Maria Theresa of Este — Prince Charles Albert of Carignano 
— 1 816 — I become a Page : Entry into the Military Academy — Marriage 
of the Prince of Carignano — First Revolutionary Sjnmptoms — Birth of 
Victor Emanuel II. — Pages and Their Duties. 

I WAS born in Turin on the 20th June 1807, a few days 
after the battle of Friedland which Thiers pronounces to 
be la plus belle de tons les stecles, and on the eve of the 
day when those arch-enemies Napoleon and Alexander 
embraced on the Niemen. On the 20th June was, and 
still is, celebrated at Turin the feast of a miraculous image 
of the Virgin, the Madonna of Consolation, and my mother, 
a pious and excellent woman, consecrated me to her, fully 
persuaded that her fourth son's happiness was thus secured. 
I can hardly affirm that her hopes were entirely realised, 
but I must admit that my life has relatively been a happy 
one ; perhaps because I am endowed with a certain amount 
of philosophy which prevents my attributing more import- 
ance to men or to events than they deserve. 

After the enforced abdication of Charles Emanuel IV. 
in 1798, Piedmont passed under the dominion of the 
French Republic with a fictitious semblance of liberty and 
independence ; then, thanks to the Austro- Russian inter- 



vention, or more correctly speaking, to that of General 
Suvaroff, she returned for a short time to legitimate 
monarchy under a regency lacking decorum or power. 
After the battle of Marengo she again fell under the French 
yoke. Divided in 1802 into four departments, she formed 
part of the Republic, and afterwards of the Empire, until 
the Restoration. In 1807 Piedmont was ruled by a general 
who was at the same time head of the 28th military division 
and civil governor. In the following year he was suc- 
ceeded by Camillo Borghese, husband of Pauline Bona- 
parte, sister of the Emperor, who lived in Turin until 18 14, 
when the Empire was overthrown. I was therefore born a 
French subject in the capital of the department of the Po. 

My father, Charles Philip, was the second son of the 
Marquis Caspar Morozzo of Bianze, and of Irene Scar- 
ampi of Canino, whose eight sisters, with the exception of 
one who became the Marchioness of Bevilacqua, were all 
married in Turin, so we had innumerable cousins among 
the Piedmontese nobility. Marquis Caspar and his wife 
had five sons : Charles Emanuel, Marquis of Bianz^ ; 
Charles Philip, Marquis Delia Rocca, my father; Louis, 
abbe Morozzo; Joseph, chevalier Morozzo, finance minis- 
ter, who kept that title till he died, and was director of the 
hospitals and charitable institutions of Turin ; and one 
daughter, Christine, who married the Marquis Taparelli 
d'Azeglio and was the mother of Massimo d'Azeglio. 

The Marquis Caspar would now be accounted very 
eccentric, but in those days he represented the common 
type of the eldest born of noble and rich families. Brought 
up to regard himself as superior to his brothers and quite 
above ordinary mortals, he was persuaded that by divine 
and J^human laws he was sole representative of his 
ancestors and sole master of their large fortune, which by 
right would go to his eldest son. No other member of 
his family was to marry. They were to enter the army or 


the government services, take holy orders, or become Knights 
of Malta. To a . man imbued with such notions, the new 
ideas introduced by the French Revolution were odious. 
Intensely hostile to the Republican government, which he, 
with many others, considered to be simply revolutionary 
and not likely to last, he was subjected to all kinds of 
vexations by our French rulers in the shape of taxes and 
fines. Once they seized the fifteen horses in his stable, 
saying that it was good for the health of Citizen Morozzo 
to walk. My grandfather, who never replied unless ad- 
dressed as Marquis of Bianze, immediately gave orders to 
his numerous factors to collect the finest mules they could 
find on his estates, and drove them, splendidly harnessed, 
four-in hand through the streets of Turin, especially under 
the windows of the governor's palace. It can easily be 
imagined how angry he was at the announcement, in spite 
of his opposition, of the marriage of his second son, Charles 
Philip, in 1799.^ His bride was Sophia Asinari of the 
Marquises of Gresy, charming and of noble birth, but poor. 
Marquis Gaspar immediately altered his will, and divided 
what he had set apart for Charles between the abbe and 
the chevalier Joseph. All he gave him was a cottage with 
a dairy farm at Valfenera near Asti, which brought in 
about ;^i6o a year, and a small apartment in the palace at 
Turin. He never relented towards his second son or gave 
him another penny, and died in 181 3 without having known 
his grandchildren. If by chance we met our grandfather in 

^ Charles Philip, my father, was aide-de-camp to General Costa di Beau- 
regard in 1796, and went with him to Cherasco on the 28th April, when the 
conditions of the peace of Cherasco were settled. They were dictated by 
General Bonaparte, and afterwards copied in the office of the Sardinian head 
of the staff. The young aide-de-camp^ who probably had to make several 
copies, kept one, which is now in the small archive where I have collected 
the documents which will be used in these memoirs. I shall henceforward 
call this the small Delia Rocca archive to distinguish it from the large and 
dusty archives of the Counts Morozzo and the Marquis Delia Rocca, which 
contain documents dating from 1300. 


the street we were made to bow most respectfully, but our 
salute was never returned ; the Marquis Caspar invariably 
turned away his head and walked straight on. Very 
different from the good King Victor Emanuel I., who, on 
his return to the capital in 1814, resumed his favourite 
walks under the porticos of Via di Po, accompanied by 
his first equerry. When he met us, and recognised the 
children of his faithful servant the Marquis Delia Rocca, 
he always returned our bows and often called us to him 
and caressed the smaller ones ; bidding us tell our father 
that he had stopped us in order to send him an affection- 
ate boundi (good day). 

As I have already said, my grandfather Gaspar died 
in 1 81 3 without leaving anything to my father, and in 
the same year my seventh and last brother was born.^ 
My parents brought up their large family with the strictest 
economy, giving us the example of a regular life, without 
luxuries or elegance, but contented and good-humoured. 
My kind and gentle father, who was delicate, left every- 
thing to his wife, in whose judgment he had implicit 
confidence. Healthy, robust and resolute, she ruled our 
small army with perfect success. There were no schools, 
or at all events we never went to any. Our father taught 
us reading, writing and arithmetic, and an excellent priest, 
towards whom we were sometimes wanting in respect, 
gave us Latin lessons and made us recite our catechism. 
Both of my parents were passionately fond of music, and 
in spite of manifold household occupations my mother 
found time to play the harp, then the fashionable instru- 
ment among ladies and young girls. My father some- 
times accompanied her on the spinet, but oftener played 
his own compositions, when our elder sister Louisa, born 
in 1800, was charged to stop the diabolical noise we made 
in the small apartment. Woe betide him who broke the 

1 In 1 8 19 my sister Caroline, who is still alive, was born. 


silence ordered by my mother, or who left the place where 
he was seated with his back to the wall. Poor Louisa 
was our victim, and her shins might have told more 
eloquently than she did the number of kicks received 
when trying to impose silence or immobility on us. If 
my mother noticed any movement, or heard whimpering 
or naughty words addressed to Louisa, she came to her 
aid, and, administering one or two good boxes on the 
ears, put the offender into the corner with his face to the 
wall. Such discipline was an excellent preparation for 
the college, and for the army into which we were all 
to enter. None of us ever dreamed of complaining 
about our parents, or thinking they were harsh, nor did 
we ever expect the fondling which I see is the foundation 
of modern education, and which renders young men in- 
tolerant of every privation. 

In 1 8 14 the possessions of the House of Savoy were 
returned to them by virtue of the Treaty of Vienna, with 
the addition of the city of Genova and other Ligurian 
towns. Charles Emanuel IV., who in 1799 protested from 
Sardinia against the abdication forced upon him by the 
French, had voluntarily resigned his crown in 1804 after 
the death of his wife, Maria Clotilde, sister of the un- 
fortunate Louis XVI. of France. He retired to private life 
in Rome, and ceded all his rights to his brother, the Duke 
of Aosta, afterwards King Victor Emanuel I. I perfectly 
remember every circumstance connected with the entry 
of the king into Turin, as far as a child of seven could 
see it. He was to pass along the Via di Po, so we went 
to the balcony of the Countess Ferrari's^ house at one 
corner of the street. Thence we saw the king, mounted 
on a Sardinian galloway, dressed in his old uniform of 

^ Sister of the Countess of Castelborgo, my godmother ; both descended 
from the Marchioness of San Sebastiano and of Spigno, morganatic wife of 
Victor Amadeus II. 


1798,^ blue with broad red facings a long waistcoat, 
white breeches and big jack boots, a Prussian hat, and a 
wig with a bobtail which hung down his back. The 
king was received with loud and enthusiastic cheers ; 
the people crowded round him, and all wanted to grip 
his hands, but only succeeded in kissing his boots. This 
was the first popular demonstration I witnessed ; after- 
wards I saw many in the suite of Charles Albert and 
Victor Emanuel II. 

Immediately after the king's return he restored things 
to the condition they were in before the departure of 
Charles Emanuel IV. Sixteen years of exile spent 
among the bare rocks of his island — often badly informed 
about the course of events, and therefore incapable of 
understanding their importance — had seemed to him a 
dream, a cruel and oppressive nightmare. Awaking 
amidst the joyous demonstrations of his subjects, he 
felt impelled to destroy every trace of those sad years 
and to restore the old condition of mutual love between 
people and king. He did not perceive that all was 
changed, that individuals and ideas had progressed and 
could not turn back. A kind and excellent man, he 
was wanting in discernment. He immediately recalled, 
not only the faithful adherents of the monarchy, but, 
consulting old almanacs of the years preceding the 
abdication, he reinstated all the old functionaries. It 
was absurd, and at the same time sad, to hear of dead 
men being gazetted to their old posts. All this caused 
considerable dissatisfaction, particularly in the army, 
where officers retrograded in rank, and lost the steps 
they had gained under the French government. But 
others have written about this, and I shall return to my 

^ It was the uniform of Victor Amadeus III., •?.«., of a general of the 
Guards. Charles Emanuel IV., who was no soldier, had changed nothing in 
the uniform worn under his predecessor. 


reminiscences. My father was one of the first to be 
reinstalled in his rank and pay as captain of the King's 
Dragoons, but owing to the heart disease which at last 
killed him after great suffering, he was forced to exchange 
into the bodyguard. He was named quarter-master, 
corresponding to the rank of major, so our poverty was 
a little alleviated. 

The return of the queen from Sardinia, and of the 
young Prince of Carignano from France, was the subject 
of conversation in every household of Turin. Victor 
Emanuel I., obedient to the call of the allied powers in 
1 8 14, had come post-haste from Cagliari to Turin, but 
would not allow his wife to join him until peace was 
assured in Europe. After the battle of Waterloo and 
Bonaparte's exile to St Helena in 181 5, the queen, impatient 
to see Piedmont and Turin, where she had reigned supreme 
as the beautiful Duchess of Aosta^ in 1789 and the follow- 
ing years, left Sardinia to join her husband. Disembark- 
ing at Genoa, where she was received with acclamation, 
she entered Turin, accompanied by her four daughters : 
Beatrice, already married to her uncle Francis IV. of 
Modena ; Maria Theresa and Marianne, twins of fifteen ; 
and little Christine, born in 1812. Fifteen young girls of 
the first families of Piedmont awaited her arrival, with 
nosegays and baskets of flowers, on the new bridge of the 
Po, which she inaugurated. 

Maria Theresa was still beautiful, and the sight of her, 
surrounded by those four youthful faces, touched the 
hearts of the enthusiastic crowd. Her popularity did not, 
however, last long. Murmurs and complaints soon began, 
accusing her of pride and hardness, of incapacity to under- 
stand the changes which had taken place during the exile 
of the royal family, and of using her great influence 

^ Maria Theresa d'Este, who married Victor Emanuel, Duke of Aosta, 
afterwards King of Sardinia, was sister to Francis IV., Duke of Modena. 



with the king for party purposes and in favour of re- 

Victor Emanuel I. had also summoned to Turin the 
young Prince Charles Albert ^ of Carignano, heir-presump- 
tive to the throne if the queen or the Duchess of Genevese ^ 
had no male children. He was seventeen, a sub-lieutenant 
in the French army, but, on arriving at Turin, the king 
made him quit foreign service and its uniform. Tall, 
lithe, and handsome, gay, and full of fun, he became the 
cynosure of all eyes, the subject of much talk, and the 
centre of many ambitions, when the favourable impression 
he had made upon the king was known. At the head of 
his household, as governor, was placed old Count Grimaldi, 
who fulfilled his duties too conscientiously to please the 

^ Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano, was a direct descendant, but of the 
second branch, of Charles Emanuel I. , the Great. 

Charles Emanuel I. 

Line of Savoy. 

Victor Amadeus I. , 
b. 1597— a^. 1687. 

Charles Emanuel 11., 
h. 1634— fl?. 1775. 

Victor Amadeus II., 

first King, 

<5. 1666 — d. 1732. 

Charles Emanuel III., 

b. 1 701 — d. 1773. 


Victor Amadeus III., 

b. 1726 — d. 1796. 

Line of Carignano, 

Cardinal Maurice. 

Charles Emanuel IV., Victor Emanuel I., Charles Felix., 
b. 1751—^.1819. b. 1759—^. 1824. b. 176s— d. 1831. 


Prince of Carignano, 

b. 1595—^- 1656. 

Emanuel Philibert. 
b. 1628— dT. 1709. 

Victor Amadeus, 
b. 1690 — d. 1 741. 


Ludovic Victor, 

b. 1721— d. 1778. 

Victor Amadeus, 
b. 1743 — d. 1780. 

Charles Emanuel, 
b. 1770 — d. 1800. 


Charles Albert, 

b. 1798 — d. 1849. 

^ Maria Christine, daughter of the King of Naples, and wife of Charles 
Felix, brother of Victor Emanuel I. 


young prince. He liked the first equerries no better; if 
not antediluvian, they at all events dated from those 
famous Court almanachs of 1798. The king, whose affec- 
tion for Charles Albert increased daily, soon named 
younger and more acceptable men to the post. All 
Turin was astonished at the favour shown to the young 
prince, and it was rumoured that Victor Emanuel wished 
him to marry one of the twins, but that the Prince of 
Carignano was alarmed at the idea of Maria Theresa as 
a mother-in-law. Yet she was not a bad or a heartless 
woman. No one knew this better than my father, who 
was generously and kindly tended by her when seized 
with sudden illness in the royal palace at Genoa. But 
irritated by the worries of a long exile, and saddened by the 
loss of her only son, which destroyed all hope of seeing 
her descendants on the throne, she had become soured, 
and by her frank, sometimes even rude, speech she daily 
offended those around her, and showed too plainly her 
bitter disappointment at finding the popularity she had 
enjoyed as Duchess of Aosta no longer existed. Although 
intelligent and superior to the princes of the House of 
Savoy of that generation, she could not seize or make 
allowance for the great changes which had taken place 
in Piedmont during the French occupation. The royal 
family, completely isolated in Sardinia, were like that 
princess in the fairy tale who, on awaking from a 
hundred years' sleep, was astonished to find things were 
no longer the same — those sixteen years of sleep in Sar- 
dinia counted for more than a hundred in olden days. 

In 1 8 16 two young equerries — Count Gerbaix de 
Sonnaz and the chevalier Silvano Costa di Beauregard — 
were added to the Prince of Carignano's household. 
And as the king had twelve pages, and his brother, the 
Duke of Genevese, six, five were chosen for the service 
of his nephew, of whom I was one. My four companions, 


all between nine and twelve years of age, were Victor di 
Seyssel d'Aix, Faussone di Germagnano, the son of Count 
Filippi, and Coccognito di Montiglio. Our uniform, not 
to say livery, as Camillo di Cavour, who became page a 
few years after myself, called it, was of scarlet cloth with 
silver embroidery. We wore white silk stockings and shoes 
with buckles, and our hat was boat shaped. Our duties 
consisted in accompanying the princes and princesses to 
all Court functions, to church, to the theatre, to balls, 
following them upstairs, walking by their carriage, holding 
up their trains, and waiting on them in public. The Prince 
of Carignano was always pleasant and kind to us ; in those 
days he was full of life and gaiety, fond of talking, and 
could be sarcastic ; I suspect he often wished to join us 
in a game of romps. He undertook to have us taught 
riding in his riding school, and often lifted the smaller 
boys into their saddles or made the bigger ones trot and 
gallop by his side. 

The military college was reopened by the king in 1816, 
and I was one of the first scholars. The idea was to 
educate a corps of good officers, who were to be not only 
instructed in the art of war, but inured from childhood to 
fatigue and privations. Our first swallow-tailed uniform 
was of blue cloth with crimson pipings. We wore short 
breeches and cloth gaiters up to our knees. In summer 
our breeches were white, and cold or hot, rain or sun, 
summer began for us on the feast of Corpus Domini. 

In 1 817 Victor Emanuel determined that the Prince 
of Carignano, heir-presumptive to the throne, ought to 
marry. His choice fell on the Archduchess Maria Theresa, 
daughter of Ferdinand III., Grand Duke of Tuscany, 
whose fair hair, youth, magnificent complexion, and 
courteous, dignified manners had pleased Charles Albert. 
The marriage took place at Florence in September 1817, 
and early in October the young couple came to Turin. I 


remember going with the other pages and equerries to 
meet them at the Valentino Palace, once the residence of 
Christina of France called Madame Royal. This pretty- 
palace, then surrounded by shady walks and groups of 
old trees, was the first halting-place of royal visitors out- 
side Turin. Now it is in the town. The , prince and his 
bride entered a state carriage with large glass windows, 
drawn by four horses; three footmen stood behind and 
the two youngest pages, Filippi and I, stood on either 
side of the front windows on small steps added for the 
occasion. Whose idea this was I do not know, but we 
boys traversed the town with our hearts in our mouths. 
The State entry, probably arranged more in honour of 
the bride than of our young prince, was the cause of 
great future annoyance to him. Charles Felix, Duke 
of Genevese, who had just returned from Sardinia 
where he had been acting as regent, was jealous of the 
position given to Charles Albert. He regarded it as a 
personal affront, and so pestered the king and queen, and 
the master of the ceremonies Marquis Pamparato, that he 
obtained a rectification in the archives of court ceremonials 
kept by the grand master. He was ordered to register 
that the honours rendered to the Princes of Carignano 
were addressed, not to Charles Albert, who was only a 
Serene Highness, but to his bride, who as an Imperial 
and Royal Highness and Archduchess of Austria had a 
right to them. The obvious thing would have been to 
create Charles Albert a Royal Highness, but Charles 
Felix, and, they say also, the queen, who both still hoped 
for an heir in the direct line, were so hostile that King 
Victor abandoned the idea. From that day began the 
underhand, but unceasing and active malevolence of the 
Duke of Genevese towards the Prince of Carignano. 
Some years later, when Charles Felix was king, and he 
was advised to grant the title of Royal Highness to Charles 


Albert, he replied, ' I cannot ; one is born a Royal High- 
ness, one cannot be made one.' 

In 1820 the breath of revolution from Spain and 
Naples reached Piedmont, and the new ideas of constitu- 
tional government were first broached. Carbonari arrived 
in small bands, and members of the first Piedmontese 
families, the Dal Pozzo della Cisterna, the Perrone di San 
Martino, CoUegno, Moffa di Lisio, Santa Rosa, Verasis di 
Castiglione, etc., were affiliated. They were joined by 
the officers who had fought under Napoleon, and under 
the restoration had been deprived of a step in rank. 
People talked openly about the Carbonari and the mal- 
contents. The young men, always greedy for any novelty, 
were divided into two camps — the French Constitutionalists 
and the Spanish. The more fashionable and frivolous, led 
by the Marquis di Priero, were for the former. Gay and 
noisy, they dressed with the greatest care, according to 
French fashions. Sombre, nay even dramatic, wrapped in 
large cloaks, and wearing broad-brimmed white hats, the 
Spanish Constitutionalists stalked through the streets of 
Turin without attracting the attention of the king. Per- 
haps as it was Carnival time, he thought, or pretended to 
think, it was a Carnival joke. 

On the 14th March the Princess of Carignano gave birth 
to a son, who was to be the future King Victor Emanuel 
II. Born during the first revolutionary movements for the 
unity and independence of Italy, clairvoyants might well 
have hailed him the Hope of Italy. 

We pages were among the first to see the new-born 
baby, as we held torches round the font while he was being 
baptized. Some time afterwards, finding the door of the 
nursery half open, I entered, and absorbed at the sight of 
the baby in his cradle, was standing by him, when the 
Princess of Carignano came in. She scolded me well and 
forbade me ever to come near those rooms again without 


special permission. Twenty years later, when I was first 
equerry to Duke Victor Emanuel, I told him how I had 
been turned out of his room. He laughed heartily, but 
deplored his mother's love for strict Court etiquette, 
which bored him, and which he abolished on coming to 
the throne. 

In the same year, 1820, I began my studies in the 
Academy for entering the general staff. The course of 
instruction lasted five years, and I must confess that the 
lessons of French and Italian literature left much to be 
desired. They were not calculated to teach even those 
who were extraordinarily gifted, like Camillo di Cavour, 
to write really well. Cavour often lamented how difficult 
he found it to express his thoughts in elegant Italian.^ 
Mathematics and military tactics were, however, admirably 
taught, and those who failed in after years to distinguish 
themselves had only their own laziness or incapacity to 

^ • Dans ma jeunesse on ne m' a jamais appris k ^crire ; je n'ai pas eu de 
professeurs de rhetorique ni meme d'humanite ; aussi ce n'est qu'avec la plus 
grande apprehension que je me deciderais a livrer un manuscrit a I'imprim- 
erie. . . .' (Cavour. Lettere, Vol. I., p. 330, Collezione Luigi Chiala.) 


Fire during a Ball at Court — The Prince of Carignano and the Revolution — 
Opinions concerning the Prince in the time of Charles Felix — The Revo- 
lution of the 1 2th of March — Abdication of Victor Emanuel I. — His 
Departure — Charles Albert as Regent — The Constitution — The Pupils go 
to Superga — My Escape, with other Boys, to Fight the Austrians — Our 
Capture — Sojourn at Superga — Exile of Charles Albert — Battle of Novara 
and Return of Charles Felix to Turin — Victor Emanuel I. at Moncalieri — 
Charles Albert goes to Spain to fight the Constitutionalists — He returns 
to Turin — I am a Sub-Lieutenant — Some of my Companions at the 
Academy : La Marmora, Cavour, Cavalli — I enter the General Staff. 

The political horizon in the beginning of 1821 was 
gloomy; even we boys were conscious of the growing 
agitation in Turin without understanding what it meant. 
During a Court ball at the end of Carnival a fire broke 
out in the Palace Ciablese, now belonging to the Duke of 
Genova,^ which forms one wing of the royal palace. We 
afterwards heard that there had been riots, not only in 
the capital but also in the provinces, for some days, and 
that the fire was supposed to be the work of the Carbonari 
and the Revolutionists, who hoped in the confusion to be 
able to approach the royal family and to demand reforms 
and the Constitution. What I saw (as all the pages were 
on duty) was that the Prince of Carignano left the ball, and 
returned in about an hour with his Court suit all blackened 
with smoke, and high boots over his silk stockings, to 

^ The Duke of Ciablese, uncle of Victor Emanue I., left his palace to 
Charles Felix, Duke of Genevese, brother of Victor Emanuel I., who suc- 
ceeded him as King of Sardinia. 



report to the king. A second time he left, and then came 
back to announce that all was safe and the fire extin- 
guished. I and all my companions noticed that Victor 
Emanuel listened attentively and talked graciously to the 
young prince, while the queen frowned and glanced sneer- 
ingly at his boots and dirty coat. The Duke of Genevese, 
who was in the royal circle, did worse, for as Charles 
Albert approached he deliberately turned his back on 
him and walked away. He was suspected, unknown to 
himself, of being on good terms with the Carbonari^ 
and Charles Felix was on the point of accusing him of 

I forgot to say that the year before, on the birth of 
Prince Victor, the king had named the Prince of Carig- 
nano Commander-in-Chief of the artillery. This important 
post threw considerable power into his hands, and the 
constitutional Monarchists, then considered revolutionists, 
among whom were many Carbonari^ centered their hopes 
in him. They expected that the young and liberal 
prince would put himself at the head of a party whose 
ambition was, with an enlarged and strengthened Pied- 
mont, to form a kingdom of Italy, ruled by a constitutional 
king of the House of Savoy. 

From 18 18 to 1821 were perilous times for Charles 
Albert. The various parties who looked upon the restora- 
tion, or rather the resurrection of a dead past, as a farce, 
were searching for a personality — a name — in whose 
honour to unfurl the constitutional flag, and thought they 
had found him in the Prince of Carignano. So convinced 
were they that to him the idea of a constitutional Italy, 
united under his sway, would prove irresistible, that they 
made sure that he shared their notions. It appears, how- 
ever, that the prince had never been approached on the sub- 
ject. In the first days of March 1821 all eyes were turned 
on him, but whatever may have been said or written during 


those fateful days and even afterwards, it is certain that 
Charles Albert was affiliated to no secret society, and 
that in the beginning of 1821 he was ignorant of the plot 
hatched by the Carbonari^ the nobility, and the Pied- 
montese officers. He declared it by word of mouth and 
in writing at various times, and the few around him who 
were not sectarians always said so, and have left it on 
record in letters which still exist. 

I was then too j^oung to understand what was going 
on, but some years later, when I got my epaulettes and 
left the Academy, it was still the subject of conversation. 
Charles Felix was then king and omnipotent, so most of 
the nobility naturally adopted the ideas of the Court, who 
looked upon the Prince of Carignano as a traitor to the 
Royal House. At the same time, he was decried as a 
traitor by some of the Liberal party. It was believed, or 
at least generally said, that he belonged to the Carbonari 
and had plotted with them in favour of a constitutional 
revolution ; but becoming alarmed lest instead of helping 
him to a larger kingdom his companions might prevent 
his ever ascending the throne of his uncles, he had forsaken 
and betrayed them. In short, the poor prince was accused 
and abused by everyone, and even after he became king 
many still believed in his guilt. Only when the archives 
and documents of that time, as well as his own letters 
and those of his contemporaries were published, was light 
thrown on the events which I shall try to explain. 

It was in the beginning of March that the prince first 
had cognisance of the revolutionary movement, and was 
surprised to discover that nearly all his artillery officers 
were in the conspiracy. To his astonishment, one morning 
Count di Collegno one of his equerries, introduced Counts 
Santa Rosa and Lisio and the Marquis di Caraglio into 
his study. They were, together with Collegno, the leaders 
of the movement, and came in the name of the Constitu- 


tional party to beg the prince to place himself at their 
head, and plead their cause with the King Victor Emanuel. 
Horror-stricken, Charles Albert remained dumb. It had 
never crossed his mind that the liberal sentiments he so 
frankly avowed to those about him could have led to his 
being chosen as the leader of a revolutionary political 
party. On recovering from his surprise he rejected their 
propositions, but probably not with the energy he ought 
to have shown, and dismissed the conspirators. They only 
wanted a figurehead, not a leader, and knew that the young 
prince lacked the decided character, the intuition, and the 
vast ambition of a Bonaparte. They hoped to compromise 
him — to seduce him with the idea of an enlarged and in- 
dependent kingdom of which he was to be the founder. 
Taken unawares, and naturally irresolute and undecided, 
Charles Albert found himself in cruel perplexity — he must 
either be a traitor to the king who had been kind to him 
and laden him with benefits, or betray men who were 
his friends and had confided their secret to him. He 
chose the worst thing — a middle course. He tried to per- 
suade the officers that their duty lay in fidelity towards 
their sovereign, and that their demonstrations were in- 
opportune and dangerous, while he warned the king to be 
on his guard, and to take precautions against possible 
disorders. Whether, fearing to compromise some of his 
friends, he spoke too vaguely, I know not ; anyhow, the 
king failed to grasp the situation and did nothing, while 
the revolution gained ground. 

The Prince of Carignano spoke more openly to Saluzzo, 
the Minister of War, who was dismayed, but took no 
measures to forestall the revolution which broke out in 
Turin on the 8th of March. A cannon shot from the 
citadel was the signal which roused the whole population. 
The king, who had gone to Moncalieri the day before, 
immediately returned, and on the loth he was presented 



with a pronunciamento, Spanish fashion, by the garrison of 
Alessandria, followed by those of Vercelli, Pinerolo, etc. 

At first Victor Emanuel declared that he would not 
cede to violence, but when he understood that the revolu- 
tion was spreading and civil war would be the result, he 
hesitated. A council was summoned, consisting of the 
ministers, their predecessors, several leading men such as 
Balbo, Vallesa, the Marquis Brignole, and the generals in 
command. Several of the latter declared that they would 
not answer for their men. A few of the councillors were in 
favour of granting concessions and reform, but the majority 
advised resistance. All those of the Liberal party who 
could obtain access to the Prince of Carignano were urging 
him to use his influence with the king and persuade him 
to grant a constitution. Among them were Vallesa, 
Saluzzo and Balbo. The prince declined to interfere unless 
called before the council and assured of the active support 
of the two last-named gentlemen. Summoned by the king, 
who asked his opinion, Charles Albert, strongly backed 
by Balbo and Vallesa, advised granting concessions, to 
which Saluzzo and Brignole assented, but all the others 
voted against them. 

Meanwhile the revolution was spreading. Many of the 
troops quartered in and near the capital deserted and 
joined the garrison of Alessandria. The king, gradually 
becoming convinced of the aspirations of the majority of 
his subjects, was on the point of granting a constitution, 
when the Marquis of San Marzano ^ arrived from the Con- 
gress of Laibach,^ to which he had been sent as minister 
plenipotentiary the year before. He declared that, in 
obedience to his instructions, he had assured the repre- 

^ Father of the Marquis of Caraglio, one of the heads of the Revolutionary 

2 Called at the instigation of Austria to arrange with the other great powers 
the right of intervention in countries which had risen in rebellion. 


sentatives of the other powers that the King of Sardinia 
would never grant a constitution or make any change in 
the treaties and conventions of 181 5. On hearing this, 
Victor Emanuel I. resolved to abdicate, and as his brother, 
Charles Felix, was at Modena to receive the King of 
Naples on his return from Laibach, he named the Prince 
of Carignano regent. Charles Albert at first refused, but 
on the representations of the ministers and servants of the 
crown present at the ceremony of abdication, he reluctantly 
accepted. The prince was deeply moved by the farewell 
words addressed by the king to him and to his faithful 
servants, and hardly less at Maria Theresa's cutting, but 
hardly undeserved, remarks to the ministers of war and 
public security,^ who had allowed things to come to such 
a pass. Among those present at the leave-taking was my 
father, and he often told us that, on leaving, the king ex- 
claimed, ' J'emporte avec moi le regret d'avoir inutilement 
travaille au bonheur de mon peuple.' 

Victor Emanuel I. left for Nice during the night of the 
1 2th March, escorted by the whole light cavalry regiment 
Savoia, mounted on excellent little Sardinian horses. In 
spite of the entreaties of the king they accompanied him 
to Racconigi, where they took leave, and went to join the 
royal army under General La Tour at Novara. 

Many people thought that in naming Charles Albert 
regent, the king meant to give a tacit assent to the pro- 
mulgation of the Constitution. It was like saying, You 
are free, I am not ; do what you think best for the people 
and the monarchy. Unfortunately the young prince was 
inexpert, hampered by countless ties and duties, and had 
no man of strong character and intellect near him. He 
was overwhelmed by the revolution and became its martyr. 

On the departure of the king all the ministers resigned, 

^ The queen's last words to Count Lodi were, ' Nous vous avons paye bien 
cher, monsieur, pour une police que vous faisiez bien mal.' — Translator' s Note. 


and their places were difficult to fill. The regent met either 
with a decided refusal or an acceptance negatived by im- 
possible conditions. Meanwhile the revolutionary wave 
surged higher and higher. For want of sentinels who had 
abandoned their posts, or through the treachery of servants, 
the Carignano Palace was invaded by a mob, which declined 
to leave, and the prince was interrogated and advised by 
men unknown to him. When summoned to his assistance 
the Monarchists either turned a deaf ear or advised the 
proper course — the only one which Charles Albert could 
not bring himself to adopt — an immediate order to the 
troops who were still faithful to clear the streets. The 
soldiers in the citadel had exchanged their blue ^ cockades 
for tricolour ones, and some of the commanding officers 
threatened to fire on the town unless the Constitution was 
proclaimed. Under these circumstances, a prince of only 
twenty-three, with Liberal tendencies, and surrounded by 
Revolutionists, can hardly be blamed for conditionally 
signing the Constitution, pending ratification by the new 
sovereign. Couriers were immediately sent off to Modena 
with detailed accounts of the situation, and a request for 
explicit orders. 

The answer was an order to go immediately to 
Novara and join Field-Marshal Baron La Tour, command- 
ing that part of the army which was still faithful to the 
king. Charles Albert left Turin at nightfall, running 
the danger of being murdered by Revolutionary assassins, 
who called him cowardly, vile and treacherous. When he 
reached Novara, the field-marshal handed him a letter 
from the king, ordering him to go to Florence with his 
family. The prince went to Modena to see King Charles 
Felix, who refused to receive him, and, heart-broken, 
Charles Albert went into exile. 

During the riots in Piazza Castello on the I2th March, 

^ The colour of the House of Savoy. — Translator's Note. 


we boys were assembled in the chapel of the Academy at 
a funeral service in memory of our late governor, General 
Robilant. We understood that something was going on, 
but against whom, or for whom, there was fighting, we only 
learnt by degrees. A portion of the garrison of Turin and 
the suburbs had joined the Constitutionalists at Aless- 
andria, so our governor. Chevalier Cesare di Saluzzo, 
mindful of what had happened in a Spanish town on the 
rebellion of the garrison,^ marched us all off to the large 
buildings adjoining the church on the Superga Hill. 

Shouldering their guns, the older pupils were placed as 
sentinels at every door, while the youngest amused them- 
selves in the big room. The others, I among them, con- 
spired — we wanted to join the army ! One of our servants 
had just left to join his regiment at Alessandria, saying he 
was going to fight the Austrians. Fight the Austrians ! 
Those three words fired our heads and legs, and we deter- 
mined to run away into the woods, taking with us our 
silver spoons, forks and mugs to sell, and thus pay for our 
journey. No sooner said than done. Silently we slid down 
a steep slope through the wood towards the river. But 
our flight had been discovered and our older companions 
were sent in pursuit. They ran faster than we did and 
soon caught us, and with kicks and cuffs brought us back 
humiliated. On the 8th April the Constitutionalists were 
beaten at Novara by Marshal La Tour, aided by the 
Austrians, and their leaders fled to Switzerland and other 
countries, while the soldiers dispersed to their homes. The 
Austrians occupied Alessandria and Vercelli, and the gover- 
nor of Turin, Count Thaon di Revel, named regent by the 
new king, Charles Felix, soon reduced the town to order. 

Charles Felix prudently remained at Modena until 
October. Charles Albert, in disgrace, was exiled to Flor- 

^ The rebels seized all the pupils in a college for youths of good family, and 
held them as hostages. 


ence, and Victor Emanuel I. was staying at Nice. On 
receiving news of the battle of Novara, Count Hannibal 
Saluzzo, commander of the garrison of Nice, went to 
inform his old king, who immediately exclaimed, * Alas ! 
My brave Piedmontese, they gave it to those cursed 
Austrians, did not they ? ' His grief was terrible on hear- 
ing that they had, on the contrary, been beaten. The good 
king hated Austria bitterly, to whom he attributed, far more 
than to France, the misfortunes of his country. Saluzzo seized 
the opportunity to urge Victor Emanuel to return to Turin, 
escorted by his regiment, assuring him that the whole army 
would at once rally round him. But the king refused. 

Towards the end of 1821 Charles Felix returned to 
Turin, where everything was quiet owing to the vicinity of 
the Austrians. Called into Piedmont by Marshal La Tour 
in obedience to the king's orders, the latter found it no 
easy matter to get rid of them. * Diplomacy moves so 
slowly. The Austrians are like pitch, which sticks if you 
touch it,' said the king. At least so it was reported. Two- 
thirds of the Austrian troops were withdrawn a year later, 
after the Congress of Vienna, but the last four or five 
thousand men only left Piedmont at the end of 1823. 

Charles Felix was one of the few of his race who had 
no military tastes ; but after ascending the throne he 
always wore a general's uniform. Intensely autocratic, he 
firmly believed in the divine right of kings, and exacted 
the greatest deference, not only to the crown, but to all 
belonging to it. He once placed a staff officer who repri- 
manded a servant of the palace under arrest for disrespect to 
the royal livery. Otherwise he was simple, almost infantine, 
in his tastes and habits. The theatre was his favourite 
amusement, and he went there nearly every night. 

Very different was Victor Emanuel I., who loved his 
soldiers. The presence of the Austrians at Alessandria 
and Vercelli was a bitter grief to him, and he regretted his 


beloved Turin. He had taken up his residence at Mon- 
calieri,^ and often drove or rode to the gates of the capital. 
There he would stop, gaze at the old walls, the green 
bastions, the Po and the Valentino Palace, and then slowly 
and sadly return to Moncalieri. He never approached the 
royal palace, not even to visit his brother. 

From the spring of 1821 until that of 1823 the Prince 
of Carignano was an exile in Tuscany. No prayers or 
promises could move Charles Felix to recall him. When, 
in 1823, King Louis XVHI. of France sent his nephew 
and heir-presumptive, the Due d'Angouleme, with an army 
into Spain to help Ferdinand VH. to put down the Con- 
stitutional Revolution, Charles Albert asked leave to join 
him. On the one hand, the prince wished to show his 
gratitude to Louis XVni., who had pleaded for him with 
Charles Felix ; on the other, his dislike, after the events of 
1 82 1, of constitutions and Constitutionalists, the cause of 
so much sorrow and trouble to him. After some months' 
delay, Charles Felix gave the desired permission, and the 
prince embarked at Leghorn for Marseilles with his equerries 
Robilant and Costa, and Isasco, officer of the staff. He 
arrived in time to take part in the campaign, and we all 
know how he distinguished himself at the Trocadero.^ All 

^ Four miles south of Turin. — Translator' s Note. 

^ The Trocadero, on the Isle of Leon, near Cadiz, was stormed by the 
French on the night of the 31st August 1823. The Prince of Carignano, dis- 
regarding the entreaties of his attendants and the orders of the French general 
Obert, was one of the first to throw himself into the canal and wade across up 
to his neck in the water. Seizing the colours of a regiment of grenadiers, he 
led them against the enemy's batteries. The gunners were killed at the point 
of the bayonet, as the cartouches of the stacking party had been spoiled by 
water. Seeing some of the enemy escaping in boats, the prince himself 
laid and fired two of their guns, and sank one of the boats. Next day 
the Due d'Angouleme decorated him with his own Cross of St Louis, and 
— a far higher honour — a deputation of the grenadiers begged his acceptance of 
the epaulettes of one of their regiment who had fallen in the attack, saying he 
was so brave that he was worthy of filling the place of their dead comrade. — 
Translator's Note. 


through life he was as courageous and prompt on the battle- 
field as he was timid and irresolute in politics. The Due 
d'Angouleme invited him to Paris, where for a winter he 
was the idol of society, and Louis XVIII. lost no oppor- 
tunity of recommending him to Charles Felix. 

After the death of Victor Emanuel I. in January 1824, 
Charles Albert received permission to return to Florence 
by way of Turin, and to pay his respects to the king. He 
was, however, ordered to enter the capital at nightfall, and 
the king only received him late the next evening, fearing lest 
his presence at the palace might attract a crowd. Charles 
Albert told me afterwards that his uncle let him understand 
that he knew the prince had urged Victor Emanuel I. to 
resume the crown, and that the preference he had always 
shown for the late king had annoyed him. But, on the 
whole, the interview was satisfactory, and shortly after- 
wards the Prince of Carignano was recalled to Turin with 
his family. 

He was handsomer than ever, but had lost his brio and 
gaiety and love of fun ; he spoke little, never raised his 
eyes, and appeared nervous and timid. In reality he was 
suspicious of everything and everybody. The events of 
1 82 1 and their consequences, and the diffidence the king 
always showed him, had taught him only too well how 
dangerous it is for a prince to be carried away by his first 
impressions, or to confide his thoughts to those around 
him. I was constantly with him afterwards, and do not 
think he ever opened his mind to, or felt any affection 
or tenderness for, anyone, save perhaps for the very 
few women who gained his heart and knew how to 
keep it. 

Before leaving the subject of the Academy for ever, I 
must mention those among my companions whose names 
became celebrated in war and politics — Alphonse La Mar- 
mora, Camillo di Cavour, and Cavalli. 


My cousin, La Marmora, was three years my senior ; 
audacious, enterprising, and intelligent, he was addicted to 
laying down the law to his companions. He was far from 
studious, so his mother, dissatisfied with the small amount 
he had learned at the Academy, obliged him to study seri- 
ously after he left. He travelled and read much and gained 
by experience, but none could have foretold what a high 
position he was destined to occupy. Very different was 
Camillo di Cavour. When as a small boy he joined the 
college in 1820, he showed most uncommon acuteness and 
intelligence. Endowed with a wonderful memory, he was 
a prodigious reader, particularly of political and historical 
works, and he had a passion for mathematics. The events 
of 1 82 1 had a strong effect on him, and he wanted to 
follow and know the conditions of Piedmont and of other 
countries. So he induced his elder brother Gustavus to come 
into the parlour at the Academy, which was always empty 
during play hours, and from behind the thick grating which 
separated the pupils from visitors he listened to the news- 
papers his brother read aloud. Habitually studious he was 
not, but during some weeks before the examinations he 
worked double tides, and always came out first. Cavalli, 
celebrated as the inventor of the rifled cannon called after 
him, even as a boy was always studying mechanics. His 
only amusement consisted in making models in wood, 
iron, or anything he could get hold of, to demonstrate 
his ideas for the improvement of implements of war. 
Shortly after leaving the Academy he invented the high- 
wheeled gun-carriage, which was, I think, first adopted 
in the Camp of Instruction instituted by Charles Albert 
in 1833. 

In 1825 I left the Academy with the rank of lieutenant, 
and began my service as officer of the staff. My three 
elder brothers were already in the army, the three younger 
I left behind me in the Academy. 


1 825- 1 840 

The Staff — General Paolucci — Death of King Charles FeUx — Accession o 
Charles Albert — His Character — Life at Racconigi — Young Italy— 
My Journey to Sardinia — Bear Hunting with Duke of Savoy. 

The staff, which I entered towards the end of 1825, was 
very different from what it is now. At the Restoration, 
when Victor Emanuel I. reorganised the Piedmontese 
army, he left the staff very much as it had been before 
the Revolution. The officers were considered more as 
topographical engineers than as part of the army, and civil 
engineers often shared in their work, and after some years 
obtained permission to enter the corps. Charles Albert 
altered all this in 1831; civil engineers were no longer 
admitted, the number of officers was increased, and some 
of them were put either to active or to office work under 
commanders of the military divisions. 

My brother Casimir was named aide-de-camp to General 
Paolucci, a Modenese who for many years had been in the 
service of the Czar. Owing to the menacing attitude ol 
France, Charles Felix had invited him to come from 
Russia to reform, or rather reconstitute, the army. His 
reputation stood high after a brilliant campaign in the 
Caucasus, in consequence of which the Czar named him 
Governor of Livonia and Courland, but he did not possess 
the military talent Charles Felix attributed to him. I 
believe the principal, if not the only, reform he made in 
our army was the introduction of a huge bunch of white 



feathers on the hats of the generals, still called a Paolucci. 
Fortunately France left us in peace, so the idea of recon- 
stituting the army was abandoned. Paolucci was made 
Governor of Genoa, with a large stipend, by Charles Albert 
when he became king, out of gratitude for his services in 
advocating the prince's cause with the Czar in 1821-22. 
He held this post till 1848, but how or when he died I do 
not remember; as happens to us old soldiers when we 
leave the army, he vanished in silence and oblivion. 

In the beginning of 1831 Princess Marianne, niece of 
King Charles Felix and one of the twin daughters of Victor 
Emanuel I., married the Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the 
Austrian throne. The King, with all the Court, accom- 
panied the bride to Milan, and on the homeward journey 
His Majesty fell ill, after drinking, it was said, a lemonade 
at Novara. , On reaching Turin he got worse, and never left 
his bed again. The Queen, Maria Christine of Naples, 
was named regent, so as I had just been promoted to be 
a captain, my commission bears her signature. 

On the 27th April 1831 Charles Felix died, and was 
quietly succeeded by Charles Albert of Carignano. Re- 
volutionary ideas had calmed down, men's minds were 
quieter, and several of the Monarchists, trusting in the 
experience of a man of thirty-three, who lacked neither 
intelligence nor culture, hoped for a pacific and wise reign. 
Many, however, of every party felt the same suspicion of 
Charles Albert that the late king had always shown. The 
extreme Monarchists accused him of Liberalism, with them 
a synonym of Jacobinism ; they never forgave him for 
granting the Constitution in 1821. The ultra- Liberals, in 
the minority in Piedmont, but numerous in other parts of 
Italy, regarded him as a Carbonaro who had betrayed 
his brethren. This general and unmerited distrust which 
Charles Albert was powerless to dispel or combat, all the 
necessary documents being buried in the State archives 


whence they were only disinterred fifty years later,^ was 
the perpetual sorrow and torment of his life — a torment 
which caused him to appear false and hesitating, and made 
his conduct incomprehensible to those about him who did 
not possess the key to the enigma. I saw and heard many 
examples of such apparently astounding duplicity that, in 
spite of myself, my affection for Charles Albert was shaken. 
He still cherished the liberal ideas of his youth, and had 
inherited the ambition of the House of Savoy, but at the 
same time was so steeped in mysticism that he conceived 
himself to be destined by God to achieve the redemption 
of Italy on the condition of becoming a sacrifice. Tied by 
promises and pledges given before he came to the throne, 
he would not break them while the various persons con- 
cerned lived, or until he received some manifestation of 
the Divine will, which he fully expected and in which he 
devoutly believed. His ambiguous and tentative manners 
were a blind to deceive the world as to his real thoughts 
and intentions. 

In the beginning of 1833 my aunt, the Marchioness 
Christina d'Azeglio, who had been in Florence during the 
exile of Charles Albert and often received him in her 
house, wrote to beg him to give her nephew, who had been 
one of his pages, a place at his Court. The king, who 
never forgot old friends, at once named me one of his 
second equerries. 

I entered on my service in May at Racconigi, the 
favourite summer residence of the king. He was an early 
riser, and at half-past five we were on horseback. On our 
return we breakfasted in our rooms, and then attended 
mass with the royal family, after which the king retired 

1 N. Bianchi proved by documents from the State archives that there was 
no foundation for the accusations of treachery and duplicity in the prince's 
conduct in 1821. My relation is founded on those documents, and not on the 
common belief which prevailed in my youth and for many subsequent years. 


to his study until luncheon time. In the evening the 
queen called two of us to play whist with her and one of 
her ladies ; the others played billiards with His Majesty, 
or read. The pleasantest time was after the queen, with 
her ladies and gentlemen-in-waiting, had retired, and we 
equerries, with the aide-de-camp and any favoured guest, 
remained alone with the king. Sitting on the edge of the 
billiard table, and swinging his long legs, he would talk 
of the present and the past, recount his travels, and tell 
us about the war in Spain and the people he had met, 
mimicking their voice and manner to perfection. 

1833 and 1834 were sad years for our small country. 
A new secret society, * Young Italy,' an offshoot of the 
Carbonari, took up the idea of a united and independent 
Italy. Since the French Revolution, or rather the vic- 
torious progress of Bonaparte through the Peninsula, this 
had filled many an Italian heart, but the general wish 
was to effect the change gradually, and rather in a Mon- 
archical than in a Republican sense. Joseph Mazzini, a 
Genoese, was the founder; Orsini, Ruffini, Gallenga, 
Cattaneo, and Vochieri, were the leaders of the new sect ; 
and, with the inconsiderate and rampant imprudence 
characteristic of Republican youth, they thought to stir 
Italy into rebellion with three or four hundred followers, 
and without money or soldiers. Mazzini, however, under- 
stood the necessity of having an army and a Prince with 
him. Abandoning his Republican ideas, he wrote his 
famous letter to Charles Albert, inviting him to follow in 
his footsteps and become the liberator of Italy, declaring 
that he had twenty millions of men ready to follow the 
Italian flag. 

The king, who had good reason to doubt the existence 
of those twenty millions of men and did not wish to offend 
Austria who was jealously watching him, turned a deaf ear. 
Sad experience had taught him prudence, and how little 


secret societies and revolutionists were to be relied on. 
He was determined to be independent of sects or parties, 
to do nothing hastily, but gradually to create an army 
capable of resisting the attack of an enemy. Driven out 
of France, the Mazzinians had taken refuge in Switzer- 
land, whence they attempted to stir up disorders in Savoy. 
A paper, called Young Italy after the society, was widely 
distributed, particularly in the army. The contagion 
spread from Chamb6ry to Alessandria, and thence to 
Turin, and the king was made seriously uneasy by the 
reports of the military authorities. A special commission 
was named to search for the culprits, and a court of judges 
at Turin, with the Count di Cimier (or Cimella) of Nice as 
president. He exaggerated in everything, in accusations, 
in judging, in punishing, and was cruel and unjust. A 
copy of Young Italy found in a soldier's knapsack or in 
a house sufficed to send a man to prison, and more than 
one was shot or guillotined. Many arrests were made in 
Savoy, in Alessandria, and in Genoa among the aristo- 
cracy ; most of the latter were absolved after some weeks 
of imprisonment, save V. Gioberti, who was exiled. Several 
soldiers were condemned to death, others to the galleys 
or to long terms of imprisonment, by the military tribunal. 
The rewards bestowed on the judges who had shown the 
greatest severity produced a painful impression ; people 
looked grave and sad, and even at Court there were 
whispered lamentations as to the course of events. When 
the first arrests in April were known the members of 
' Young Italy ' fled from Piedmont, and order was apparently 
re-established, but men's minds were uneasy. I was on 
duty at Racconigi at that time, and after receiving 
despatches from Turin the king grew sombre and taciturn. 
No one spoke during our morning rides; we were all 
enveloped in the black cloud of melancholy which 
oppressed Charles Albert. 


In 1834 the Mazzinians, trusting to the assurances of 
a few Savoyards that the troops would flock to the tri- 
colour flag, entered Savoy in two divisions, one led by 
Ramorino, the other by Antonini, who had served in the 
Polish army. Disappointed by their cold reception, and 
hearing that the Sardinian troops were advancing, the 
rabble dispersed and returned to France or Switzerland, 
Mazzini among the first. A few military executions, 
necessary for the maintenance of discipline, took place 
at Chambery, but the stern court of justice of the pre- 
ceding year having been dissolved, the sentences of death 
passed on the leaders were only promulgated after they 
had left the country. Among these was Garibaldi, a 
master mariner of the third class. For some years there 
was comparative quiet, but during his whole reign Charles 
Albert was tormented by the threats of the Mazzinian 
Society on one hand and the Society of Jesus on the 
other — the first trying to lure him with the promise of a 
kingdom on earth, the second with one in heaven. 

In the spring of 1835 my brother-in-law. Count of 
Bernezzo, general in command of the division of Cagliari, 
died, and my sister Louisa wrote to beg me to come to 
Sardinia to accompany her and her small children back to 
Piedmont. A journey to Sardinia in those days was a 
serious affair. There were no railways, no steamboats, no 
telegraphs. The post-boat went once a month, and took 
from three to fifteen days, according to the wind. The 
boat had left before I got my sister's letter, so not to lose 
time I embarked at Genoa on a small mercantile ship 
about twenty metres long. The weather was bad and the 
wind contrary, and for twelve days I lay tied to the mast 
on a rug by the side of the beautiful Countess Rignon, who 
was going with her brother, the Marquis of Boyl, to 
Sardinia. I never saw or spoke to her, for we were 
both frightfully ill. The sea was so rough that we had 


to put in at the island of Asinara, where we passed the 
night in a shepherd's hut, and next day crossed over to 
Sassari. A wretched diligence was the only mode of 
transport from Sassari to Cagliari, so I thankfully ac- 
cepted the offer of General Crotti to procure me a horse 
and give me one of the '31' as a guide. The * 3 1 ' was 
a society charged with the postal service, and took its 
name from the number of its members. There was a 
postman for every day in the month, and as soon as 
the post-boat was signalled, the man whose number coin- 
cided with the day saddled his horse, threw the big 
saddlebags across his flanks, and went to receive the 
letters which he distributed at the different post-offices 
along the road. I took two days and a half to traverse 
Sardinia, sleeping one night at Macomer in the house of 
a rich proprietor, and the second in a village, the name 
of which I forget. As was the custom then I begged 
hospitality for the night at the house of the principal 
man of the place. But finding the whole family lived in 
one room with various domestic animals I preferred to 
roll myself in my cloak and sleep outside. 

Prisoners condemned to forced labour were in those 
days transported to Sardinia and employed in gangs on 
the estates of the great landowners, or permitted to take 
service in shops or private families. My brother-in-law 
had taken a frank, honest, good-tempered young fellow as 
cook and servant, who had been a shop-boy at Stresa on 
the Lago Maggiore, and was condemned as a domestic thief 
for stealing twelve francs. ' They did quite right to punish 
me,' he used to say. * I was a mere boy, and stole a trifle ; 
who knows what a scoundrel I might have become if I had 
not been found out ? ' 

My sister was so anxious to obtain his release and 
send him back to Stresa, that I wrote to the king, who 
pardoned him, and most graciously sent a corvette to take 

SARDINIA IN 1835 33 

us back to Genoa. With us sailed my brother Emanuel, 
who had served three years in Sardinia and married there. 
His wife was of noble family, pretty and nice, but, like all 
Sardinians, full of prejudice and superstition. During the 
voyage I observed that she was always chewing pieces of 
paper with writing on them, which she took out of a small 
box. These were sentences out of the New Testament, 
and verses from the Psalms, which her aunt had written 
out for her as a sure preventive against sea sickness. The 
more sick she was the more paper she swallowed, so at 
last, after vainly trying to persuade her to stop, I took 
advantage of a bad bout of sickness and threw the box 
into the sea, which made her very angry. 

In 1838 I accompanied the young Duke of Savoy to 
the Monte della Moriana, where a bear had been seen. 
We drove to S. Michele, and climbed to the top of Mon- 
tembrun on foot, while the beaters drove the forest. But 
in vain ; the bear had already escaped into the valley on 
the other side, and the king having fixed the day and 
hour of our return to Turin we were forced to abandon 
our bear-hunt. Charles Albert was already beginning to 
show the tenacity and inflexibility of character which led 
to more than one disaster in 1848. 


1 840- 1 84 1 

Rumours of War — My Secret Mission to France — Am named First Equerry 
to Duke of Savoy — His Shooting Parties — His Dislike of La Marmora 
— His Marriage. 

Rumours of wars were rife in the spring of 1840. Russia 
and Prussia, together with England and Austria, were 
united to uphold the rights of Sultan Mahmoud in Syria 
against his vassal, Mahomet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt. The 
latter had received encouragement, if not actual aid, from 
France, who, with one of those poetical ideas which ought 
to be banished from politics, remembered her Egyptian 
successes in 1798, and favoured Mahomet Ali in his 
struggle against the Sultan. Offended at her exclusion 
from the quadruple alliance, she revived the idea of forti- 
fying Paris, and there were rumours of armaments on our 
frontier which alarmed the king and ministers. 

One September morning I was summoned by Charles 
Albert, who, under a promise of secrecy — religiously kept 
by me for many years — said he wished, independently of 
his ministers, to know the truth, and desired me to obtain 
information. As a simple tourist I was to go to Savoy, 
and thence to Dauphine and Lyons. I applied for leave, 
and the king gave me a passport in which my military 
status was not mentioned. Charles Albert bade me be 



careful, as in case I was arrested by the French authorities, 
he would disown me. 

Fully resolved not to be caught, I provided myself with 
a botanist's vasculum, and went to Chambery, where I 
established my headquarters. I knew all the country 
round, and, with my collecting-box over my shoulder, 
crossed and recrossed the frontier several times without 
molestation. Gathering plants one hot morning under the 
walls of the fort of Barau, I saw a veteran watching me 
from the glacis, and hailed him. Approaching nearer, I 
asked him 'whether there was any spring near by, as I was 

* I know nothing about water,' he answered. ' My only 
drink is good wine, and if you'll come up I'll give you a 

I did not wait to be asked twice. After drinking, I 
offered him a cigar, and strolled on to the parapets prais- 
ing the view. Chatting and smoking we walked about 
and I saw all I wished. There had been no fresh move- 
ment of troops, so the veteran and his companions had no 
reason for suspicion. 

At Grenoble I entered a tobacconist's shop, and thought 
I knew the handsome woman who stood behind the counter. 
She recognised me at once, and began talking in Pied- 
montese dialect. I stopped her with a glance, and, as 
soon as we were alone, told her not to talk Piedmontese, 
and above all, not to call me captain, as being absent 
without regular leave, I might get into trouble. 

She had lived in Turin for some years with a cousin of 
mine, by whom she had a child, which was in the foundling 
hospital, and which she wished to claim. I promised to 
help her as soon as I returned to Turin, and, through my 
uncle who was director of the hospital, was able to do so. 

A handsome and taking woman she was in great 
favour with the prefect, and procured me permission to 


visit the heights, which were fortified. At Gap I gleaned 
much information from the officers of the garrison, who 
dined at my inn ; but at Briangon, which was full of 
troops, incessant rain prevented me from herborising, and 
I soon found myself an object of suspicion. The gendarmes 
came to my room, examined my passport and my port- 
manteau, which only contained linen and a notebook with 
washing bills, and lists of plants, arranged as a cypher to 
remind me of the news I had collected. The police were 
nonplussed; but that afternoon I saw others arrive, and 
determined to leave. 

On reaching Turin I reported myself to the king, and 
was surprised to find Charles Albert gay and bright as in 
former years, before 1833- 1834 had set such an indelible 
stamp of melancholy on him. The change was due to 
the visit his intelligent, lively, and beautiful sister, Maria 
Elizabeth, the Vice-Queen of Lombardy, had paid him 
with all her family. The king was pleased with the way 
I had fulfilled his instructions, and promised to name 
me one of the first equerries to the Duke of Savoy, 
just engaged to the Archduchess Maria Adelaide, second 
daughter of the vice-queen. 

During the winter of 1840-41 I was continually in 
attendance on the young duke, but in the spring I 
was ordered on ordnance service in the Alps, where I 
nearly lost my life. Soon after my return I accompanied 
the Duke to Genoa, and for twenty-five years, with the 
exception of two journeys in 1843 and 1849, I saw Victor 
Emanuel nearly every day. Whether he knew me better, 
or that my frank, open character pleased him more than 
the usual ways of courtiers, or that, though not sharing his 
vehement passion for all physical exercises, I liked open- 
air life and was an excellent walker, I know not, but even 
when not on duty I was always called. I could ride all 
day long, or walk for ten or twelve consecutive hours, with- 


out feeling anything but a tremendous appetite, and, like 
the duke, I cared more for quantity than for quality in 
my food. One or other of the officers of the Court or 
their sons were invited to his shooting parties, and among 
these at first was Alphonse La Marmora, equerry to the 
Duke of Genoa. But his authoritative, rather overbearing 
manner soon annoyed Victor Emanuel, who had plenty 
of good sense, and accepted advice when given unpreten- 
tiously and at the proper time. La Marmora with the 
duke, as with us all, posed as a professor, and wanted to 
lay down the law. At the slightest opposition he was 
ready to exclaim, like an old uncle of mine, ' / feu viaggid 
e lett! ^ He had read and travelled much more than other 
officers, but he took care everyone should know it, and 
Victor Emanuel, who never imposed his high rank, 
although fully conscious of it, disliked these airs of 
superiority, often asserted with considerable brusqueness. 
I was also sometimes rather brusque with my young 
prince, and held to my own opinion, but only when he did 
something I knew his father would not like, so he took it 
good-humouredly, laughed, and said, ' La, la ch'as calma, 
ch'as calma. Un antra volta i fareu count a veul chiel! 2 
With La Marmora, on the contrary, he got angry, answered 
curtly, and gradually ceased to invite him. His place was 
filled by the son of General Scati, a college friend of mine. 
Scati was as bad a shot as myself, and one day Victor 
Emanuel, with a keeper, distanced us, and climbed the 
ridge of a mountain, shooting blackcock as he went. As 
the birds could not be found, he thought he had missed 
them, and was much put out. They had fallen close to 
us, so we picked them up, and when we joined him said 
nothing. The duke, who was a capital shot, could not 
understand how we, so far below him and such inferior 

^ ' I have travelled and read.' 

2 ' There, there, be calm, be calm. Another time I'll do as you wish.' 


shots, had made good bags. When we told him all the 
birds were his, he was delighted, and ate them later with 
redoubled zest. 

Charles Albert never allowed his son to be absent more 
than two or three days ; so to gain time he left Turin in the 
night, particularly when we went to Casanova, near Poirino, 
the Count of Robilant's large property, the shooting over 
which he reserved for the duke. One morning we were to 
start at one. Carriages had been ordered, and I was to fetch 
Victor Emanuel at the royal palace. With my gun over 
my shoulder, I passed the sentry at a quarter to one, and 
found the palace gate ajar without any porter. Entering 
the great saloon of the Svizzeri^ I found several servants 
stretched on mattresses fast asleep, and two policemen 
snoring on a bench. At the top of the stairs leading to 
the duke's apartments I found two more servants asleep, 
all the doors open, and the corridors illuminated. Without 
any difficulty, and without being seen by anyone, I reached 
his bedside. In a few minutes he was ready, and I took 
the opportunity to tell him how, unseen and unchallenged? 
with my gun on my shoulder, I had been able to reach 
his room. ' What I have done, others may do with 
different motives,' I said. * Allow me to give orders that 
the access to your room at night should be less easy.' 

He shrugged his shoulders and laughed. ' Who could 
have any evil intentions against me? Pray don't have 
me put under lock and key.' 

The marriage of Victor Emanuel with his cousin Maria 
Adelaide took place on the nth of April 1842, with great 
pomp. Charles Albert excelled in organising magnificent 
ceremonials, without throwing away money or making 
debts. When he came to the throne, the public treasury 
and the private patrimony of the House of Savoy were in 
bad order, but by constant and wise economy he cleared 
off all liabilities. 


After the marriage at the royal castle of Stupinigi, 
the bride and bridegroom entered Turin with the same 
ceremonial as had been used in 18 17, only the State 
carriage was different, and there were no pages on the 

Marshall Radetsky, commander-in-chief of the troops 
in Lombardy, accompanied the Italian royal family, and 
was received by Charles Albert an hour after his arrival. 
They little thought under what different circumstances 
they would meet seven years later in the Lombard Quad- 
rilateral and on the disastrous field of Novara. The king 
treated the marshal with the greatest distinction, and on 
the latter expressing his disappointment at not being able 
to stay for the tournament that was to be held in Piazza 
S. Carlo, a rehearsal was ordered for him in the royal 

I 842- I 847 

Maria Adelaide — Private Life of Victor Emanuel — My relations with Him 
— Maria Elizabeth visits Her Brother, Charles Albert — His Melancholy 
increases — His uncertain Policy — Election of Pope Pius IX. — Meeting 
of Agrarian Society at Casale — Charles Albert grants Reforms — Birth 
of Maria Pia of Savoy. 

After a month's sojourn at Turin, the Vice-King and 
Queen of Lombardy returned to Milan, and the Court 
relapsed into the usual routine and stern discipline. The 
sweet smile and angelic goodness of Maria Adelaide 
softened and illumined, but brought no life or gaiety to 
the palace, where all were awed by the presence of the 
solemn and silent king. The Duchess of Savoy resembled 
her mother in many things, but lacked the brio and vivacity 
which, like a trumpet blast, roused everyone who approached 
the vice-queen, scattering melancholy and misanthropy to 
the winds. Victor Emanuel loved his cousin from the 
first time he saw her, and his affection was lasting. But 
she failed to fill his life, devoid of all mental occupation, 
as Charles Albert never allowed his son to participate in 
affairs of State. The duke continued his bachelor habits, 
and having more liberty after his marriage, was often 
away on shooting excursions for days together. At Court, 
Victor Emanuel was the heir to the throne, a loving hus- 
band and a respectful son ; but outside he gave full scope 



to his natural instincts and tastes, and became a mousquetaire 
of the seventeenth century. He dressed rather in that 
style, and physically resembled Dumas' heroes, but with- 
out their vulgar manners and tastes. Though on familiar 
terms with those about him, and neither proud nor haughty, 
he was jealous of his personal dignity and position, and for 
no man would he have lowered them. With women it was 
different. It was sufficient for them to be young, pretty, 
and not coy to gain his affections for the moment. But I 
am perfectly convinced that among the large number — a 
sort of magic lantern of pretty women of all grades of 
society — not one ever really touched his heart. That 
belonged entirely to Maria Adelaide. Absolute trust, 
respectful and passionate admiration, and all his tenderest 
feelings, were so entirely hers that none remained for 
others, not even for the woman who for many years shared 
his life far more than the duchess had ever done, who 
bore him children, and at last became his morganatic 
wife.^ Without pretending to be what he was not, Victor 
Emanuel gave the best of himself to Maria Adelaide. 
He had no secrets from her, though he did not tell her 
everything, because the litany would have been long and 
monotonous and unfit for her chaste ears. What she 
knew she pardoned, and even justified — a miracle of 
supreme indulgence and goodness not easy to understand, 
save by those who, like myself, stood between the two 
lives of the duke. The only person who had any right 

^ In 1 8 14 and 1815, when, as boys, we watched the soldiers exercising 
on the bastions, the colossal drum-major Was an object of great admiration. 
When the band ceased playing he walked about, and sometimes smilingly 
bent down and lifted a child up on to his broad shoulders. It was like being 
on the top of a church tower, and we all admired and liked Vercellani. 
Thirty years later, returning from Racconigi with the duke, in the suite of 
Charles Albert, who had passed a regiment of the Grenadier Guards in review, I 
recognised Vercellani on the balcony of a small house. By his side stood a 
beautiful girl of about sixteen ; she was his daughter, the bella Rosina, the 
future Countess of Mirafiore. 


to blame him abstained, wisely, I think, showing perfect 
tact and an intimate knowledge of her husband's exception- 
ally ardent temperament. I always tried (without posing 
as a mentor) to restrain him ; the thirteen years' difference 
of age between us, and the affectionate familiarity with 
which he treated me, allowed me to speak with frankness 
and a certain authority. I must add that, although in 
no way responsible for the actions of the duke, I soon 
discovered that the royal family thought I had more 
power over him than I possessed. I perceived this from 
the bitter-sweet words of the queen, ' Mais Monsieur de la 
Rocca, pourquoi n'avez vous done pas ramene Victor plus 
t6t,' if by chance we were five minutes late for lunch 
or dinner in consequence of a horse falling or a carriage 
breaking down. Charles Albert allowed no excuses, and 
put his son under arrest, even when once he appeared 
with his arm in a sling. I saw it also in the soft and 
entreating eyes of the Duchess of Savoy when she said, 
* Monsieur de la Rocca, je vous en prie, ne laissez pas 
passer Victor k cheval dans le torrent Sangone (when we 
were at Stupinigi) dans la Polcevera (when we were at 
Genoa) le courant pourrait I'emporter ; ' and still more in 
the angry glance the king cast at me before looking at 
his son. So I did my utmost to prevent mishaps, and 
gave stringent orders to the hunt and stablemen. As 
to preventing the duke from fording rivers or jumping 
dangerous places, I did my best ; but like all high-spirited 
young men, particularly princes who think it their duty to 
have a double dose of courage, he was often imprudent, 
and liked to show off. Gradually, however, I persuaded 
him to be more careful, and he would say, ' Ld^ i veui nen 
cUa sia crid an causa mia!'^ In the matter of morals it was 
more difficult. He was profoundly sceptical as to the virtue 
of women, and so many gave him good reason to doubt it 
^ 'There, I don't wish you to be scolded on my account.' 


that reasoning with him was useless, facts were always in 
his favour. 

In the spring of 1843 I went with my friend, the 
Marquis of Monforte, to Paris. Cavour was there, and 
took us to dine at the fashionable restaurants, and intro- 
duced us to the clubs. I remember one day, in the 
Champs Elysdes, he introduced us to Thiers, who was 
going to take his daily riding lesson. He wanted to 
become a good horseman in order to turn his military 
studies to practical use in case France should be involved 
in war. From Paris we went to Belgium, and thence to 
London, where we parted from Cavour and returned home, 
via Holland, the Rhine and Switzerland. 

In July 1845 the Austrian family of Lombardy came 
to Piedmont for the last time, and the entertainments 
given at Racconigi in their honour were even more splendid 
than those of 1840. Afterwards people declared this to 
be another proof of the double dealing and falseness of 
Charles Albert, and that, determined to declare war on 
Austria, he had tried to deceive her by the courtesy and 
magnificence of his reception of the Emperor's uncle and 
his family. This was not the impression made on anyone 
about the Court. Charles Albert was devotedly fond of 
his sister, and delighted in her society. The presence of 
Maria Elizabeth and the occupation of preparing amuse- 
ments for her seemed, for the moment, to dull his bodily 
and mental sufferings. The excitement of the fetes^ and 
still more the presence of his beloved sister, brought the 
last flush of happiness and gaiety to his pale face. Soon 
after her departure his melancholy, favoured by physical 
suffering and religious aceticism, increased. He grew 
thinner and yellower, while doctor and confessor seemed 
leagued together to encourage, instead of restraining, his 
inclination to excessive austerity. The unhappiness and 
restlessness of the king were patent to all, even bodily 


pain could not triumph over his mental anguish. He 
read the books of Gioberti and Balbo, and gave private 
audiences to Massimo d'Azeglio, who, in his quality of 
painter and poet, had traversed all central Italy and came 
to inform Charles Albert of the rapid growth of the idea 
of an independent and united nation, and of the general 
conviction that the House of Savoy was the only possible 
factor in the redemption of Italy. 

About this time the king caused a medal to be struck, 
a sphinx with lion's paws throttling an eagle, and the 
moXXo, fatans mon astre, on one side (taken, they said, from 
an old seal belonging to the Counts of Savoy), and heads 
of Dante, Columbus, Galileo and Michelangelo on the 
other. Charles Albert evidently felt the time was ap- 
proaching when the condition of Italy might be improved. 
He did not lack the enthusiasm which produces heroes 
and martyrs, but he had no trust in the character and 
moral force of the Italian people, and therefore did not 
consider the time for appealing to arms had come. Above 
all, the painful experience of former years had filled him 
with such a horror of secret societies and Revolutionists, 
that he declined to avail himself of aid that was daily 

The Republicans, the most numerous sect, were waiting 
impatiently in Malta, Corfu, and Switzerland, for a pro- 
pitious moment for stirring up revolution in Italy. They 
had attempted it in 1844 in Calabria, and in the Romagna 
in 1845, and failed. Aware of this, Charles Albert, while 
wishing to take decided action against Austria at some 
future time, was fearful of compromising himself in 
advance. Hence he appeared undecided, wavering, and 
even hypocritical, and by degrees the faith, esteem, and 
love of those about him diminished, even of those who 
for years had been his friends and faithful servants. They 
were astounded to see him one day applauding the 


words and acts of La Margherita, Minister of Foreign 
Affairs, a clerical and a partisan of absolutism, while on 
the next he listened approvingly to the Minister of War, 
Villamarina, a reputed Liberal. Such uncertain conduct 
aroused the suspicion of foreign powers, especially of 
Austria, whose ill-humour, fanned by the reports of her 
emissaries, vented itself in commercial reprisals. These 
so angered Charles Albert as to cause great uneasiness 
in the diplomatic body and corresponding hopes among 
the Liberals. 

Meanwhile Pope Gregory XVI. died, and was succeeded 
by Cardinal Mastei Ferretti, as Pius IX. He granted an 
almost universal amnesty to the political prisoners of the 
former reign, and was at once hailed as a Liberal Pope 
and the arbitrator of a federated and constitutional Italy. 
His real motive was simply an act of clemency towards 
prisoners who had nearly served their time ; but he was 
driven farther than he intended by the acclamations and 
ovations with which this concession was received. The 
Italian people, possessed by the passionate desire of a 
fusion between the Papacy and Liberal institutions, either 
did not, or would not see this, and for two years were in 
a state of feverish excitement, setting aside every thought 
or deed that did not refer to the independence and liberty 
of Italy. 

The agitation in Piedmont increased daily. It was clear 
that the mystic and religious king was strongly attracted 
towards the head of the Church, and sooner or later would 
follow his example. In 1846 Charles Albert took the 
decisive step of dismissing La Margherita. Notwith- 
standing the marked coldness with which the king 
had treated him, he clung to power as long as possible, 
in order, as he said, to attenuate the consequences of the 
Liberal tendencies of the sovereign, and to save monarchy 
and country from the catastrophe which would inevitably 


follow the proclamation of a constitution. A few among 
the old nobles shared his opinions, but nearly the whole 
army, and the men of middle age about the Court, were as 
keen for Liberal institutions as the younger generation. 

In November 1846 the death of my dear father pre- 
vented my accompanying the Court to Genoa. As soon 
as the king left on his return to Turin, the Genoese 
celebrated the centenary of the expulsion of the Austrians 
with illuminations and singing patriotic songs. A few 
years previously this would not have been allowed, but 
the train was laid, and the spark from Rome soon set the 
Sardinian realm ablaze. Liberal ideas were in the air, 
and the scientific congresses and agrarian societies con- 
tributed largely to their diffusion. 

Over two thousand scientific men attended the con- 
gress at Genoa in 1 846. Laurence Pareto was the president, 
and the Marquis Brignole-Sale came from Paris, where he 
was Sardinian ambassador, to do the honours of his fine 
palace and magnificent galleries. In all the meetings, 
patriotism, independence and liberty were more talked of 
than science. The meeting of the Agrarian Society at 
Casale in 1847 was so enthusiastically patriotic that the 
president reported it to Turin as seditious. But the 
private secretary of the king gave a different version, and 
Charles Albert's reply was read to the assembled members 
amid frantic applause.^ 

When I remember what times those were, and that 
this letter was read to men from divers Italian States, its 

^ I give a few extracts from the king's letter which has been printed in his 
biographies : — 

* MoN TRfes CHER DE Castagnetto, — . . . Votre lettre contient des 
details qui m'interessent infiniment. Si je vous ecrivais au long, je ne pourrais 
que vous repeter ce que je vous ai dit a Racconis k I'egard des sentiments et 
des vues qu'il faut exprimer pour le present et pour I'avenir. Ajoutez seule- 
ment que si jamais Dieu nous faisait la grace de pouvoir entreprendre une 
guerre d'independance, ce serait moi seul qui commanderai I'armee, resolu a 


very audacity convinces me that for years the king had 
cherished the idea of Hberating Italy from a foreign yoke. 
I consider this was the first step taken towards action, the 
independence of Italy ceased to be a dream, and hundreds, 
nay thousands, were ready to aid in its realisation. 

On the 30th October, Charles Albert granted reforms 
which were hailed with gratitude and joy. A few days 
later he left Turin for his usual visit to Genoa amid the 
acclamations of the people, and on passing through Asti 
the crowd round the carriage was so great that, only just 
recovered from a serious illness, the king fainted. At 
Alessandria, where he passed the night, and at Genoa the 
enthusiasm was indescribable, save on one Sunday, when 
a significative demonstration took place. On leaving the 
palace to go to mass, the king was, as usual, cheered 
vociferously, until the people saw that he was bound for 
the church of the Jesuits, when all cheering ceased. A cold 
and silent crowd awaited his exit, and cries of ^Down with 
the Jesuits ! ' ^Long live the National Guard I ' were heard. 

Triumphal arches and addresses were prepared at 
Turin for his return ; but Charles Albert, who was very ill, 
drove straight to the palace without even showing his face 
at the carriage windows. After resting, he was able to 
appear on the balcony and receive a fresh ovation from 
the crowd. 

It has been said the king traversed the city without 
stopping to hear addresses, because he had been informed 
that paid agents intended to raise the cries of ''Down with 

faire pour la cause guelphe ce que Schamil fait centre I'immense empire 
russe. . . . 

' . . . Les autrichiens ont donne un memoire aux puissances pour chercher 
a faire croire qu'ils ont le droit pour eux, et ils ont declare qu'ils resteraient en 
possession de Ferrare, et que d'autre part ils interviendraient dans le pays ou 
ils le croiraient necessaire pour le interet. . . . 

* . . . Ah ! le beau jour que celui ou nous pourrons jeter le cri de I'inde- 
pendance nationale ! 

' Turin, le 2 Septembre 1847. 


Reform ! ' and ^Long live the Republic ! ' But no one about 
the Court ever heard of this or of the scene between him 
and the queen before their departure for Genoa, when she 
is reported to have thrown herself at his feet, begging him 
not to go for fear of being assassinated. This is abso- 
lutely incredible to anyone who knew the queen. In the 
latter years she only approached the king with fear and 
trembling, without daring to speak. 

In October 1847, Maria Pia, Princess of Savoy, was 
born, who afterwards married the King of Portugal. Her 
godfather was Pope Pius IX., who soon afterwards sent 
the traditional golden rose to her mother the Duchess. 


Genoese Deputation — Cavour as Editor of the Risorgimento — Duke of Savoy 
disguised among the Mob — Baron La Tour — Charles Albert grants the 
Constitution — Carnival Time in Turin — Revolution in Paris and Vienna, 
the * Five Days ' of Milan and the Rising in Venice — War is declared — 
I am named Colonel and Chief of the Staff to Victor Emanuel — The 
King takes Command of the Army — The Austrians retire tow^ards the 
Adige — An attempt to besiege Peschiera — Pastrengo — The Austrians 
retreat on Verona — Battle of Santa Lucia — We retreat. 

1848 ! These four figures call up a host of fervent desires, 
hopes, anxieties, and joys, followed by cruel disillusions 
and bitter sorrow. It is impossible for me, a spectator — 
often an actor — in the great drama which even now, after 
forty-five years, agitates my very heart, to speak with the 
serenity of one who only knows the facts from books or 
by hearsay. I fear being carried away ; of being, perhaps, 
even unjust in recounting what I have seen and heard. 
Our misfortunes and sufferings have not been in vain ; one 
man was the victim and martyr, and we, the survivors, 
have reaped the benefit. Still, time has not lessened the 
indignation I felt against those who denied the valour of 
the small Piedmontese army, and dared to call its leaders 
traitors. If treachery there was, it existed among those 
who promised so much, and, when the first enthusiasm 
was over, did little or nothing. 

In the beginning of January a Genoese deputation 
came to Turin to consult with the heads of the Liberal 
party and the leading newspaper editors. Among 
the latter was Cavour. They intended respectfully to 
demand the king to order the expulsion of the Jesuits, 



and the institution of the National Guard. The members 
were lodged at the Hotel d'Europe, exactly opposite the 
royal palace, so their advent and the visits they received 
from the recognised leaders of the Liberal party could not 
be ignored. The king was, of course, informed of all that 
passed, generally by men hostile to new ideas and to all 
public and private demonstrations. Irritated and annoyed, 
he refused to receive the deputation, alleging its illegality, 
and sent orders, through the police, that it was to return 
immediately to Genoa. On the 7th July the Genoese left, 
but, under pretence of assisting at the Carnival festivities, 
many provincial notabilities came to Turin. Everything 
said in the small parliament of journalists, of which Cavour 
was the leading spirit — and much that was not said — was 
immediately repeated all over the town. The editor^ of 
the Risorgiinento at once took a leading position and dis- 
played extraordinary activity. Besides articles in his own 
paper, he wrote reviews in French and Genoese magazines, 
preparing the way for the redemption of Italy to be 
accomplished by the Piedmontese and, above all, by him- 
self. Then came tidings of the rebellion of Sicily against 
her Neapolitan rulers, of violent demonstrations in Naples 
itself, and of the change of ministry, followed, like a 
thunder-clap, by the incredible news that the King of 
Naples, the most autocratic of sovereigns, had granted the 
Constitution. A few days later it was rumoured that his 
example had been followed by Leopold II. of Tuscany. 
The agitation in Piedmont increased. People no longer 
demanded reforms — the expulsion of the Jesuits — the insti- 
tution of the National Guard — but the Constitution, enjoyed 
by France for many years — the Constitution, just granted 
by Francis and Leopold to their subjects. 

The Duke of Savoy, wanting to hear and see for him- 
self, went out at night, dressed like a well-to-do farmer, in a 

^ Cavour. — Translator's Note. 


big cloak, with a slouch hat drawn over his eyes, and mixed 
with the crowd. He wished to go alone, but I always 
kept near him, afraid, not of his being hurt, as he was 
popular, but that some expression of public sympathy 
might get him into trouble. One night, also in disguise, 
I was in the crowd behind Victor Emanuel, listening to a 
group of men who were talking vehemently, when I was 
violently pushed. I was about to retaliate, when the man 
approached and whispered, ' I am Alexander La Marmora. 
Look out, you are known.' Warning the duke, we quietly 
withdrew. The police were aware of our nocturnal 
excursions, as I found out from the old marshal. Baron 
La Tour, governor of Turin, to whom the duke often sent 
me with messages. Fearing lest my frequent visits to 
the governor's palace should attract the attention of the 
idlers always stationed in Piazza San Carlo, the baron 
told me to enter by the small door in a back street, which 
led to the apartments of his son. I remember, as though it 
had occurred yesterday, the conversation between us one 
February morning after the baron returned from his daily 
visit to the palace. Seated in an armchair, and caressing 
his beloved snuff-box, he said the king was constantly being 
entreated to grant larger concessions and political reforms. 
* They want the Constitution,' said His Majesty to me, 
' and I will never grant it' Stopping to take a pinch of 
snuff, the old marshal continued, ' You understand ? the 
king said he will not grant the Constitution. Well then 
he will, and very soon.' The baron was right. On the 
morning of the 8th February, Turin awoke to the news 
that the king had granted the Constitution. Chai-les 
Albert must have had a bitter struggle. He was inti- 
mately convinced that his people were, as yet, unfit for 
liberty, and he meditated a war with Austria, for the con- 
duct of which he considered the absolute independence of 
the sovereign was necessary. He was tormented by the 


recollection of his promise made at Paris through the 
Sardinian ambassador to the Emperor of Austria, that if 
his succession to the throne was unopposed, no essential 
changes should be made in the institutions which had 
endured for eight hundred years. On this latter point 
the Archbishop of Vercelli succeeded in calming his con- 
science. Charles Albert gave the Constitution unwillingly, 
and against his own convictions, to please his subjects, 
but, unlike the Bourbons of Naples, with the resolve to 
keep his word. 

The Constitution, announced on the 8th February, was 
promulgated on the 4th March. Those twenty-five days 
were passed in demonstrations of rejoicing — Te Deums in 
the churches, and processions. It was Carnival time, so 
Piazza Castello was crowded with masqueraders and sight- 
seers from other parts of Italy. Many were dressed a 
Vltalien^ which at first looked like fancy dress. The 
ladies wore a long riding habit of black velvet looped up 
over a tricolour silk skirt, or a short velvet dress, with a 
tricolour scarf, and all had high calabrese hats, with white, 
red, and green feathers and ribbons. The men had shoot- 
ing jackets and breeches of black velvet and tricolour waist 
scarfs, and their calabrese hats were decorated with tri- 
colour braid and tassels. While we were singing, mak- 
ing speeches and walking in processions, grave events 
were happening in France and preparing in Austria. A 
fresh revolution had burst out in Paris ; the Orleans had fled, 
and the Republic was proclaimed. The poet Lamartine, 
President of the Republic, could not understand that the 
sons of the terre des morts had resuscitated, and the idea 
that Piedmont might expand into a powerful Italian state 
did not please French political men. 

It was clear that, in the event of a war with Austria, 
we had nothing to hope from France. But in the first 
flush of enthusiasm that seemed of no account. *What 


care we for allies ? Italy will act by herself! ' (* I Italia fard, 
da se'), was the cry. A few days later Charles Albert 
repeated in public, ' T Italia fara da se' 

There was some justification for this. Deputations 
came daily from central and southern Italy of leading 
men and of amnestied political prisoners, who had suffered 
for the Italian cause, to implore aid from the Piedmontese 
army, promising the support of all their fellow-citizens. 
Not only the king, but all we young officers, shared the 
illusions of the populace, and the streets resounded with 
patriotic songs. The excitement increased when the revolu- 
tion burst out in Vienna, followed by the famous 'five 
days' of Milan and the rising in Venice. A Lombard 
deputation arrived to entreat the king's help to turn the 
Austrians, not out of Milan — that was done — but out of the 
Quadrilateral. Charles Albert promised his aid, and im- 
mediately ordered the troops nearest the frontier (the 
brigade Piedmont, and the Pinerolo and Piedmont cavalry 
regiments, with the ist field battery, about four thousand 
men in all) to cross the Ticino and march to Milan. At 
the same time, the whole army was to be placed on a 
war footing. 

After the promulgation of the Constitution the ministry 
resigned. Sclopis, failing to form a new one, the king 
called Cesare Balbo, requesting him to give a portfolio 
to the Genoese, Laurence Pareto. The new ministry 
assumed office on the i6th March, and the duty fell to 
Franzini general of the staff, as Minister of War, to 
organise the army for active service. 

The task was an arduous one. Since 181 5 there had 
been peace, and during the ten years' reign of Charles 
Felix military discipline had been neglected. Charles 
Albert had to reform everything. The Camps of Instruc- 
tion, instituted by him, and which were held nearly every 
year from 1833 to 1847, had imparted some practical 


knowledge, especially as to the combined action of the 
various arms. 

In a few days Franzini succeeded in placing twenty-five 
thousand disciplined troops on a war footing, to be joined 
by twenty thousand provincials/ thus bringing the army 
up to forty-five thousand men. With the announced sup- 
port of the whole Lombard population, and the Roman, 
Tuscan and Neapolitan troops promised by their respective 
sovereigns before our departure, we calculated on having 
over a hundred thousand men, and, like Bonaparte in 
1797, imagined ourselves already near the gates of Vienna. 
Such were the brilliant illusions, too soon, alas ! to be 

Franzini, who had known me for some time and 
honoured me with his esteem, named me colonel, and 
chose me as chief of the staff of the reserve division, to 
be commanded by the Duke of Savoy. I was ordered to 
leave at once for Casale to organise it. 

The division of the Duke of Savoy was composed of — 
1st, The brigade of Grenadier Guards, the first and 
finest in the army; and the Sardinian Sharp- 
shooters, under the command of General Count 
2d. The brigade Cuneo, commanded by General 

3<^. The regiment of Aosta cavalry, in which my 
brother Frederick was captain, commanded by 
Colonel Castelborgo, which was substituted by 
that of Genoa when we arrived at Piadena. 
^th. Four battalions of Bersaglieri, a detachment of 
engineers, and three batteries of artillery under 
Major Alphonse La Marmora, besides ambul- 
ances, commissariat, etc., etc. 

^ Reserves formed of soldiers discharged before finishing their time with 
the colours (eight years), and allowed to marry. 


As I am not writing a history of the campaign, I shall 
only jot down from memory, aided by my notes, the part 
played by the reserve. On the 24th March the king, with 
the Duke of Savoy, left Turin for Alessandria to take 
command of the troops assembled there. As soon as our 
division was ready at Casale the duke joined us, and we 
left tc meet the king on the road to Pavia. Before 
entering the town, tricolour cocardes and flags were 
distributed to the men. From a sentiment of delicacy 
Charles Albert ordered them to be substituted for the 
blue of the House of Savoy, as once the Ticino was 
crossed war and army became Italian. 

The entry of the king into Pavia on the 29th March, 
at the head of some twenty thousand men, roused extra- 
ordinary enthusiasm, and the city was decked with the 
Italian colours. The townspeople were unanimous in 
desiring to drive the Austrians out of Italy. Not so the 
villagers and peasants, generally Conservatives, and afraid 
lest the passage of troops and a change of government would 
only bring requisitions and fresh taxes. We had proof of 
this at Borghetto, our first halting-place. Resenting our 
camping in their fields, the peasants prepared to open the 
sluices of the canals to flood the country. I sent for the 
syndic, and finding my appeal to the sentiment of Italian 
brotherhood, proclaimed by Lombardy, useless, threatened 
to burn the village if my men were not allowed to sleep in 
peace on dry land. 

From Borghetto we went to Cremona, where the king 
had established his headquarters. Most of the generals 
had arrived, and the more distant garrisons of Nice, Savoy 
and Genoa, with many of the provincial regiments, were 
continually coming in. A council was held, and the 
formation of the army into two corps, divided into five 
divisions, was decreed. The ist corps, under General 
Eusebius Bava, consisted of two divisions; the 2d 


also of two divisions, was commanded by General Hector 
de Sonnaz ; and the 5th formed the reserve under the 
Duke of Savoy. The Duke of Genova commanded che 
artillery, and supreme head of the army was the king. 
General Salasco, the chief of the staff and his deputy. 
Colonel Cassato, were disciplinarians, cultured, and honest, 
but wanting in initiative and military tuition. The Min- 
ister of War, Franzini, who accompanied the arm/, was, 
from a military point of view, the better man of the three, 
but he had no command, and only a consulting vote. 

The choice of Salasco as chief of the staff was i grave 
mistake. He ought never to have accepted a post of such 
responsibility, for which he was unfit. He lacked the 
authority which it was his duty to exert ; under him every- 
one wanted to give orders, and that unity of command, so 
indispensable to an army, did not exist with us in 1848. 

It was natural that Charles Albert, who risked every- 
thing in the cause of independence, should wish to accom- 
pany the army. But either his chief of the staff should 
have been enterprising, intelligent, and highly educated, 
with an ascendancy over the sovereign such as Berthier 
possessed in the first wars of Napoleon, or the command 
should have been entrusted to an experienced general who 
had the practice and knowledge of military matters. Bava, 
De Sonnaz, Franzini, and perhaps Bes, might have been 
capable of so great an enterprise. 

The Duke of Savoy was impatient to enter the field, but 
rather as a common soldier than a commander. Cour- 
ageous, like all his race, he would have enjoyed rushing 
into the thick of the fight, and charging the enemy with 
his lance at rest, like a knight of old. Without much 
instruction or knowledge of military matters, he had 
excellent common sense, listened to advice, and followed 
it when he saw it was good. 

The Duke of Genova was said to be better informed 


than his brother ; he was certainly more thoughtful and less 
expansive, but equally courageous. 

We continued our march towards the Mincio, between 
which and the river Chiese the Austrians were strongly 
entrenched. They however fell back, and our advanced 
guard soon came within touch of them. At Cremona it 
had been decided to attempt the passage of the Mincio 
and advance on Mantua, so the king went towards 
Piadena and Macaria. An Austrian reconnaissance from 
the fortress caught a small detachment of our cavalry 
asleep in a dairy farm, and took them prisoners to Mantua. 
The officers were in despair at this first check, but 
had their revenge at the Bridge of Goito on the 8th and 
nth April. Only the ist and 2d corps were engaged; 
the reserve was not called up. The Marquis Ceva had 
been despatched from headquarters to inform the Duke of 
Savoy of the affair, and when we were between Castel- 
goffredo and Castiglione delle Stiviere, Ceva arrived at 
full gallop, pulling up short on seeing the duke. Too 
excited and out of breath to speak, he opened and shut 
his mouth like a fish out of water, without producing a 
sound. At last he gasped, ' A i soun, Altessa, a i soun ! ' ^ 
The Bersaglieri especially distinguished themselves by pur- 
suing the enemy across the ruins of the bridge, and their 
commander, Alexander La Marmora, had his jaw fractured. 

The Austrians, driven out of Goito and Valeggio, 
retired towards the Adige, and our troops occupied Mon- 
zambano and Borghetto. The king established his head- 
quarters at Volta, whence he attempted to attack Peschiera 
on the 13th April. He had been informed that there was 
only a small body of troops, with many Italians among 
them anxious to join their brethren. The fortress, on 
the contrary, was strongly garrisoned chiefly by Croats. 
After bombarding the place for a whole day the king saw 

^ ' They are there, your Highness, they are there.' 


that, without the siege train which had been left in Ales- 
sandria, nothing could be done. Alphonse La Marmora, 
one of the chief partisans of this attack on Peschiera, and 
who had persuaded the Duke of Genoa to suggest it to the 
king, offered to treat for the capitulation of the fortress. 
Astounded at such audacity, the commander refused to 
receive him ; so the king sent Major Cavalli to Ales- 
sandria to fetch the siege train, and retired, leaving 
Federici's division to prepare the earth works. 

From Castiglioni delle Stiviere we had meanwhile 
marched to Cavriana, where we remained for nearly a 
fortnight, and whence the duke went to visit his father 
at Peschiera. Soon afterwards the king transferred his 
quarters to Monzambano, the duke went with the Gren- 
adiers to Valeggio, while the Cuneo brigade remained 
at Volta. On the 29th we heard cannon in the direction 
of Santa Giustina, whither the king had gone in the morn- 
ing. In the distance I saw moving masses, but could 
distinguish nothing ; so, setting spurs to my horse, galloped 
up a winding path, cut so deeply in the hillside that I could 
not see to the right or left. Finding that I was approach- 
ing within gunshot of the enemy, and from one moment 
to another might be seen, I urged my horse up the steep 
bank, whence, plunging into the wood, I returned to 
Valeggio to give the alarm. The Austrians, however, did 
not attack us, and we were not summoned to support the 
other division. In the evening we learned that the enemy 
had been driven back to Pastrengo, whence Charles Albert 
determined to dislodge them on the following day. 

The king's object in taking the offensive was to drive 
the enemy away from Peschiera, which he was about to 
besiege, and to open the road to Verona. Emissaries of a 
patriotic committee, who afterwards paid dearly for put- 
ting themselves into communication with him, were daily 
appealing for help. The population, they declared, was 


ready to rise and drive the Austrians out, as the Milanese 
had done, if the army would support them. These 
repeated assurances, at first only listened to by the king, 
in the end convinced Franzini and Bava, and on them 
were based the military operations of the end of April 
and the beginning of May. 

In April large reinforcements reached us. Immediately 
after driving out their princes, Parma and Modena declared 
in favour of a great northern kingdom of Italy, and des- 
patched troops to join us. Those promised by Tuscany, 
Rome and Naples also came in, so that, with the con- 
tingent of provincials, about fifty thousand men were added 
to the fifty thousand we already had on the Mincio. The 
companies, consisting of one hundred or one hundred and 
fifty men, were raised to two hundred and fifty, a thing 
never seen before or since. Several provincial regiments 
were in the affair at the Bridge of Goito, and, although all 
married men with families, had fought well, and were 
obedient to discipline. For the moment the Italian army 
was superior in number to the Austrian ; but the half 
beyond the Po included many volunteers — men who knew 
nothing of warfare, and hindered us more than they 
helped. Before we could discipline them, they disbanded 
and vanished, while the Romans were recalled by the 
Pope, and the Neapolitans by King Francis. The Pope, 
the initiator of the revolution, who two months before had 
blessed the troops, changed his mind, and, in an allocution 
of the 29th April, sounded the note of alarm which caused 
the recall of the Romans, and soon afterwards of the 

All this we, of course, did not know in the latter days 
of April ; and men from Piedmont, Lombardy, Parma and 
Modena fought bravely side by side on the 28th and 29th 
at Cola, Sandra and Santa Giustina, and on the 30th at 


The engagement at Pastrengo only began towards 
eleven, either because Charles Albert, in the fervour 
of his religious mysticism, insisted on first praying and 
hearing mass, or that De Sonnaz, who had only just been 
put in command, had not had time to prepare things 
before. Five hours later the heights were ours. 

The command of the Duke of Savoy was divided, the 
brigade of Guards being on the right, the Cuneo brigade in 
the centre ; De Sonnaz's divisions were on the left and also 
in the centre. Officers and men scrambled impetuously up 
the steep hill, the top of which was fortified and occupied 
by the Austrians. I have seen many skirmishes and battles 
since then, but the ardour, the enthusiasm, displayed in the 
first days of the campaign of '48, I never saw again. The 
Piedmontese and the other Italians, who daily joined the 
regular army, presented the moving spectacle of a whole 
people rising to drive the stranger out of their country. 

While the combat was raging on the steeps of Pastrengo, 
I perceived that, by advancing on our right from Verona, 
the enemy might strike us on the flank. The danger had 
not been foreseen, and points of defence had been left un- 
manned. Communicating my fears to the duke, I asked 
permission to go and reconnoitre. With full powers to 
make all necessary dispositions, I took Lieutenant Avet 
of the staff with me, and galloped towards Santa Giustina. 
From the strong battery posted there, I saw through my 
field-glasses several columns of the enemy's infantry leav- 
ing Verona for the Osteria del Bosco, on the Peschiera 
road, at the foot of the Sona Hills — a position that had 
been almost denuded of troops that very morning to 
reinforce the attack on Pastrengo. I immediately ordered 
the artillery to fire on the advancing columns, which was 
done with excellent results. Meanwhile I despatched 
Avet to Sona to ask General Sommariva, commanding 
the Aosta brigade, to send down part of his men on to 


the Verona- Peschiera road, to oppose the enemy's advance. 
Before arriving at the Osteria del Bosco, the broad and 
straight causeway is cut through a hill, and has steep 
banks on either side. Just there, whence nothing could 
be seen, I found the brigade of cavalry commanded by 
Major-General Sala awaiting orders, which never came. 
I warned him of the enemy's approach, and of the necessity 
of preventing it, to which he objected his lack of infantry, 
there only being sixty grenadiers near by, sent to bring in 
supplies, under Lieutenant Villafalletto. The latter, fully 
alive to the danger, had disposed his men in skirmishing 
order, ready to support the cavalry or the nearest battery. 
I advised Sala to dismount a certain number of his cavalry 
in order to strengthen the defence. The general acceded 
to this, and soon afterwards, seeing part of the Aosta 
brigade coming down the hill, I returned to Pastrengo to 
tranquillise the duke, and take part in the last exciting 
moments of the engagement. 

Although the Austrians were in great force, and had 
the advantage of a dominating position, they were rapidly 
driven down towards the Adige, which they crossed on 
pontoons, with the fear, naturally, of being pursued by us. 
But the elementary rule that a victory should always be fol- 
lowed up was neglected. The order to cease the pursuit was 
given too soon, and this grave mistake was repeated many 
times during the campaign, to the despair of the officers. * 
Finding the road under the Sona barred, and probably 
informed of the defeat of Pastrengo, the Austrians retreated 
again into Verona. 

During the battle Charles Albert rode from place to 
place with a small suite, chiefly composed of non-com- 
batants, such as the Lombard envoys and the representa- 
tives of various cities. Suddenly meeting a company of 
Tyrolese, Sanfront, the colonel commanding the escort of 
carabineers, gave the order to charge, when Charles 


Albert drew his sword, and dashing forward with the 
men drove the enemy up the hill. 

After the battle our army encamped between Sandra 
and Santa Giustina, the king and the Duke of Savoy 
establishing their headquarters at the latter place. In 
the evening there was a slight altercation between the 
duke and Alphonse La Marmora, who was so convinced 
of his own superior knowledge that, instead of obeying 
orders, he generally went his own way. The Duke of 
Genova's admiration and high opinion of La Marmora was 
not shared by Victor Emanuel, who, using a Piedmontese 
phrase, called him a venditore di vasetti (seller of pots), 
meaning a man who knows how to cry up his own wares. 
He esteemed La Marmora's high sense of honour, and 
made use of him when necessary, as he was popular, 
determined, and not afraid of responsibility. But Victor 
Emanuel never liked him, and resented his superior 

In the first days of the campaign we were often on 
short rations, not entirely from the fault of the contractors, 
but from the peculiar conditions in which we were placed. 
It was impossible for us to behave as conquerors to 
our allies and brothers, who showed little generosity, and 
no inclination to assist the army which had come to their 
aid. This was one of the many disillusions to which I 
have already alluded. 

The division of the Duke of Savoy, more fortunate 
than the others, suffered but little from want of food or 

^ Victor Emanuel's opinion of General Alphonse La Marmora is curiously 
confirmed by Theodor von Bernhardi. In the seventh volume of his Tagebuch- 
bldtter (1866- 1867), just published, he talks of La Marmora as a narrow- 
minded Piedmontese, whose management of military affairs was childish. 
The king said to Bernhardi (p. 225), * // n'a pas beaucoup de tete, ce pauvre 
La Marmora^ On the other hand, La Marmora told him, ' Pretiez garde 
que le roi ne vous fasse quelque pdie . . . coinnie le rot n'est pas fori . , . il 
en a fait d moi.'' — Translator's Note. 


forage. After the first days of confusion we arranged 
directly with the various syndics to furnish supplies on 
notes of hand, which were faithfully paid at Turin the 
following year when I was in the ministry. 

From iSanta Giustina the king transferred his head- 
quarters to Sommacampagna, while the duke went to 

The ministry at Turin, the provincial governments of 
Lombardy, and the Duchies were always urging Charles 
Albert to strike a decisive blow in order to maintain the 
popular enthusiasm (particularly in the Lombard provinces, 
where registers had been opened in favour of annexation) ; 
while the Veronese Committee assured him that the whole 
population would rise to expel the Austrian garrison.^ So, 
for the second time, he determined to take the offensive, 
and attempt to lure the enemy out of Verona, in the hopes 
of gaining a decisive victory in the open to be announced 
at the meeting of Parliament, fixed for the 8th May. On 
the 4th he charged both Bava and Franzini to prepare 
plans of battle. He chose Franzini's — more complicated, 
but not very dissimilar from that of Bava. At a council 
of all the generals — saving, I never knew why, the duke — 
the king's opinion prevailed ; and Bava undertook to carry 
it out, demanding twenty-four hours in which to distribute 
orders to the troops destined to be engaged — the ist corps, 
the reserve, and a division of the 2d corps. The king, 
however, and probably the other generals, insisted on the 
immediate execution of the plan, either in the hope of 
surprising the enemy, or because the Veronese Committee 
announced a rising within the city for the 6th. 

Orders were therefore prepared and sent out during the 

^ The promises and affirmations of the members of this Committee, too 
lightly made in the name of the citizens, were most injurious to the Italian 
cause. They were the primary cause of the mistaken actions at Santa Lucia, at 
Tomba and Tombetta. The cruelty with which they were punished by the 
Austrians forbids us to judge them too severely. 


night But the time was too short. Many commanding 
officers were left in total ignorance of what had been 
settled and never moved, others received their instructions 
too late, or they were not clear, so they arrived when the 
battle was half over, some even when it was finished. 

The orders were that at seven on the morning of the 
6th May the army was to be under Verona. The ist 
division at S. Massimo to form the centre ; the 2d at 
Santa Lucia on the right ; the 3d at Croce Bianca on the 
left ; one brigade of the reserve, the Guards, were to go 
to Santa Lucia, the second was to support the centre. 

But at seven o'clock no one had appeared at their 
appointed places save the king and Bava (who was in 
command) with their staffs, and the Aosta brigade with 
the 8th battery of artillery. Seeing this the king wished 
to postpone the engagement, but Radetzky, as usual, per- 
fectly informed as to our movements, opened fire, and 
from an offensive ours became a defensive movement. 
We had received our orders at Guastalla, after ten in the 
evening, and I passed the night in distributing them to 
the various commanders. All were not ready at the 
appointed time, and the duke and I were kept waiting 
about an hour. However, the Guards reached Somma- 
campagna at half-past seven, and I sent them on to Santa 
Lucia to reinforce the Aosta brigade. 

Passing through the small village of Tana, on our way 
to S. Massimo, I noticed a ladder against the church tower, 
and, interrogating some peasants, learned that Austrian 
troops had just passed through in the same direction 
as ourselves. Dismounting, I climbed to the top of the 
tower, and saw that S. Massimo was still unoccupied, 
and we reached there before the division of General 
d'Arvillars, under whose orders the duke was. After his 
arrival we saw that the enemy on the other side of the 
hill were continually receiving large reinforcements. The 


general gave the artillery orders to fire, but seeing the 
preponderating numbers of the enemy, and the strong 
position occupied by them, he waited for renewed orders 
before attacking. 

A little after mid-day General d'Arvillars sent an aide- 
de-camp to the duke, ordering the Cuneo brigade to go 
to Santa Lucia. This seemed to me so contrary to all 
scientific rules, which forbid a column to expose its flank 
to the enemy's fire, that I feared the aide-de-camp, who 
was the general's son and very young, might have made 
some mistake, and sent to request the order to be repeated. 
On receiving the confirmation the duke immediately 
started, and I galloped off with the captain of the staff, 
Count S. Martino d'Aglie, to find Bava and ask what 
position the Cuneo brigade was to occupy. I found Bava 
at Santa Lucia, who told me the Guards had greatly dis- 
tinguished themselves, but had suffered severely. Fearing 
that they would not be able to hold the position against 
a renewed attack, he had ordered the Cuneo brigade to 
take their place. Then he sent me to reconnoitre the 
ground in front of the first line. 

Dismounting, I advanced, and at a bend of the road 
found General Sommariva (commander of the Aosta 
brigade) bending over the body of Count Balbis, his 
young aide-de-camp. Raising the handkerchief he had 
thrown over the poor fellow's face, he let me have a last 
look at him, then drawing a ring off the dead hand he said, 
with an unsteady voice, ' I shall give this myself to his 
parents.' He warned me that the road was swept by the 
fire of an Austrian battery, and for a moment I felt my 
heart beat, not for myself — a bachelor — but for d'Aglie, 
who had left his young wife, about to become a mother, 
to resume service in the army when war was declared. 
We walked on fast — not running, lest people might think 
us cowards — and when I had fulfilled my mission, returned 



to meet the Cuneo brigade. It came up with the artillery 
about four o'clock, having been knocked about during the 
flank march,' but full of fight. 

We had hardly taken up the positions held till then by 
the Guards when news came that the king had ordered 
a retreat. So astonished and disappointed were we that 
we refused to believe it. Shortly afterwards Bava arrived, 
in full dress uniform, with all his decorations (his habit 
was to dress so for battle), and bowing low to the duke, as 
a well-bred man would do to a prince in a ballroom, said, 
* With your Royal Highness's permission, I take command 
of, and lead the retreat, requesting your Royal Highness 
to protect the rearguard.' Then, in a clear voice, im- 
passible under the enemy's fire, he gave the words of com- 
mand, ' Retreat by sections.' 

Charles Albert had ridden several times during the 
engagement up to the walls of Verona, hoping to see the 
signal which had been agreed upon, or, at least, to receive 
some message. Once he was nearly made prisoner by a 
squadron of Uhlans ; luckily they were put to flight by 
shells fired from two of our guns. No sign came from the 
town, and on hearing that the centre column had been 
unable to deploy in line for the capture of S. Massimo, 
which was well defended, while the Broglia division had 
failed in the attack on Croce Bianca, he deemed it better 
to desist and order the retreat. Santa Lucia alone was in 
our possession, and the error committed at Pastrengo was 
repeated there. Our troops were masters of the position, 
fresh ones were ready to reinforce them. The D'Arvillars 
and Broglia divisions might also have been called up to 
, pursue the enemy into Verona itself, where the population, 
at the sight of the Italian troops, would probably have 
fulfilled the promises made by their representatives. It 
was a fatal mistake, and most painful for us to see victory 
always elude us when half won, more especially at Santa 


Lucia, which had been taken at so great a sacrifice. We 
lost seven hundred or eight hundred killed and wounded, 
and the Austrian loss was greater. 

Radetzky reoccupied the position immediately the 
duke left, but did not molest our retreat. 

1848 — Continued 

My Plan to prevent a Junction between Radetzky and Nugent — Spys at 
Villafranca — We concentrate at Valeggio — The Austrians attack Us — 
Victor Emanuel is wounded — Fall of Peschiera — Radetzky takes 
Vicenza — We blockade Mantua — Battle of Custoza — ^We retreat on 
Goito — King refuses Armistice — We retreat on Milan — Tumults in 
Milan — Capitulation — We evacuate Milan. 

We remained inactive at Guastalla for several weeks, riding 
now to Peschiera to watch the preparations for the siege, 
now to Sommacampagna, the king's headquarters, whence 
we always returned out of temper and disappointed at 
hearing and seeing no sign of intending hostilities. The 
2d regiment of Grenadiers was at Guastalla, the ist at 
Sommacampagna, while great part of the Cuneo brigade 
was employed in transporting the siege artillery which 
arrived from Alessandria towards the middle of May. Owing 
to the heavy rain the roads were almost impassable, and 
it required hundreds of men to move each piece. A few 
battalions of the Cuneo brigade were ranged in echelon 
behind the centre of the line, which extended from Rivoli 
to Villafranca, resting on Valeggio and Goito in order to 
assist the cavalry in guarding our flanks. Valeggio was 
defended by the artillery and the cavalry brigade. 

These dispositions had been made to guard against a 
possible attack by Radetzky, who was expecting General 
Nugent with sixteen thousand or eighteen thousand men. 
The latter had crossed the Isonzo and was already in Friuli, 



but the Tagliamento, the Piave, and the Brenta still lay- 
before him, swollen by the heavy rains. For this, or 
some other reason, his advance was so slow that General 
Durando had time to confront him with twelve or 
fifteen thousand Romans, Swiss, and Italians from various 
provinces, half regular troops, half volunteers. Knowing 
how little one could count upon men hastily collected and 
unacquainted with their officers, some of whom were unfit 
for their post, we trembled for the result 

For several days and nights I had been possessed 
with one idea — to prevent the junction between Nugent 
and Radetzky. Preparing a plan, hazardous I admit, 
but not impracticable, I submitted it to the duke. I 
suggested crossing the Adige, between Verona and 
Legnano, by a flying bridge at night, and marching to 
the assistance of Durando. If properly carried out, we 
ought to be at some distance before the enemy knew of 
our movements ; and even had he followed and caught 
us up, I was confident of beating him with our brave 
fellows fresh from the victory at Pastrengo, the more 
so, that he would have been between two fires ; Charles 
Albert, with two divisions, attacking Verona in front, 
and Victor Emanuel, with his division and the Savoy 
brigade on the side facing the Adige — in all sixty 
thousand men. If not molested, we should join Durando, 
and drive Nugent back beyond the Tagliamento. 

The duke liked my plan, resolved to suggest it to his 
father, and rode off next morning in high spirits. But, 
alas ! he returned dispirited and irritated. Never had 
his father treated him so harshly, or repulsed him so 
severely. The king said that if he considered himself 
a general because he wore a general's uniform, he would 
teach him that he knew nothing, that he could only 
repeat a lesson taught him by others, and that he 
appeared to have forgotten that it was not for him to 


give advice to his superiors, who had never asked 
for it. 

Victor Emanuel, grieved and extremely mortified, was 
at first rather cross with me, the indirect cause of his 
annoyance. But, kind and just, that soon passed off, and 
he was soon convinced that we were not so much in the 
wrong. Durando, left to himself with his volunteers, was 
beaten ; and first Nugent, then Thurn, joined Radetzky, 
who at once prepared to take the offensive. Finding our 
front and flanks well protected, he determined to attack us 
in the rear, and thus liberate Peschiera. 

Besides instituting continual reconnaissances round 
Verona, I had arranged with some trusty Piedmontese, 
small traders in the district, to collect what news they 
could from their German clients. One of them brought 
me proof that some Italians, members of the Municipal 
Council of Villafranca, were in correspondence with General 
Radetzky's headquarters. Furious, I went to tell the duke, 
who commanded me to find out the culprits and reprimand 
them severely in his name. At Villafranca I discovered 
the whole story. Carried away by my indignation, instead 
of informing General Passalaqua, as I ought to have done, 
I went straight to the accused, and upbraided them in no 
measured terms. Of course they denied, and as soon as 
my back was turned went to Passalaqua to complain, and 
protest their innocence. The general reported me to the 
king, who condemned me to two months' imprisonment in 
the fortress of Pizzighettone. But my good friend Franzini 
interceded, and the sentence was revoked. 

From my Piedmontese spies I learned that prepara- 
tions were being made in Verona for a sortie in strength, 
which was soon confirmed by Lieutenant Marquis Trecchi, 
whom I had despatched with an escort to reconnoitre. 
He returned with the news that a large force of infantry, 
cavalry, and artillery with a siege battery, were leaving 


Verona in the direction of Mantua. I sent at once to 
warn them at headquarters, and the same information 
arrived a little later from Passalaqua at Villafranca. We 
received orders to concentrate troops at Valeggio, and 
early on 30th May we left with the king in the direction of 
Goito, crossing the Mincio at Borghetto, on the way to 
Volta. On the march we met a Tuscan officer, who 
narrated the losses suffered the day before by the militia 
at Curtatone and Montanara. The troops we had seen 
leave Verona had made a sortie from Mantua, and in over- 
whelming force had fallen on the few thousand volunteers 
under General de Laugier, to whom Bava had not had 
time to send the promised reinforcements. The number 
of Tuscans and Neapolitans dead and wounded was 
enormous, the rest had retreated to Brescia. 

From Volta we continued our march to Goito, which 
we reached before mid-day. The king took up his position 
on the rising ground of Somenzari, while the duke in the 
plain reviewed his division, already drawn up in line of 
battle according to the instructions sent by Bava. The 
engagement was to be fought by the ist corps and the Duke 
of Savoy's division, in all a little over eighteen thousand 
men, a number about equal to the Austrian force. The two 
brigades (Guards and Cuneo) of the Duke's division were 
in position behind the artillery, one half of each in the 
first line, and with the Aosta brigade (division D'Arvillar) 
formed one right wing facing the road leading from Goito 
to Brescia, and parallel to that from Volta. The high road 
between Solarolo and Ceresara was thus guarded. On the 
left the division Ferrere was covered by Goito, and in a 
position to resist any attack, but the Guards on the extreme 
right, being quite in the open, might easily have been 
outflanked. Bava had, therefore, strengthened them with 
artillery and cavalry. His chief of the staff, sent to recon- 
noitre in the direction of Gazzoldo, returned without having 


seen any sign of the enemy ; but Castelborgo, colonel of 
the Aosta cavalry, reconnoitring towards Sacca, reported 
that large bodies of troops were marching thence in the 
direction of Goito. Bava, who had expected to be taken 
in the rear from Gazzolo was reassured, and made up his 
mind the large bodies of Austrians were only small patrols, 
and that so late in the day (3 p.m.) there was no fear of any 
attack. Ordering the men to pile arms, and the rations to 
be distributed, he joined the king, and they rode slowly 
along the Volta road back towards Valeggio. The Duke 
of Savoy handed over his division to me and followed 
after them. 

I had been too busy to eat anything before starting, 
and, passing a baker's shop on the march, bought a hot 
roll, which thoroughly disagreed with me. Feeling horribly 
sick, I had dismounted and stretched myself on the grass 
while the men were eating. Suddenly my brother rushed 
up. He also had seen a large Austrian force near Goito, 
and implored me to warn the king. 

Charles Albert and his suite were riding at a walk, so I 
soon caught them up, and hardly were the words out of my 
mouth when a cannon shot confirmed them. Turning his 
horse, the king galloped back to Goito to give fresh orders, 
immediately executed, because Castelborgo, on his return 
from reconnoitring, had, in passing, told the officers of 
the artillery and of the brigades that he was convinced an 
attack was imminent. 

At 3.30 p.m. the Austrians, as Bava had supposed, 
attempted to turn our right where the Grenadiers and 
artillery were posted ; the latter immediately opened fire 
upon them. I was behind the Grenadiers, and as it 
seemed to me that General Biscaretti, absorbed in station- 
ing his battalions, delayed the more necessary duty of 
launching them against the enemy, I gave the order to 
charge — 'Battalion Marmorito, battalion La Rovere, for- 


ward ; charge with the bayonet ! ' Our splendid Grenadiers 
rushed forward with tremendous impetus ; but many men 
and officers fell, among them Camillo Cavour's nephew. 
The Austrians withdrew, but only to bear down on our 
centre, which wavered for a moment at the point where 
the Cuneo and Aosta brigades touched. A battalion had 
given way, thus breaking the line. But the Duke of 
Savoy threw himself into their midst, shouting, ^ Avanti, 
fieui; couragi, avanti f ' "^ infusing fresh ardour into them 
and reforming the line. 

Major Mollard did the same with his battalion of the 
Aosta brigade. The artillery, hampered by the crowd of 
our own men advancing to meet the enemy close at hand, 
could no longer manoeuvre. One battery, stopped by a 
ditch flanked by trees, ran imminent risk of being cap- 
tured, when Mollard dismounted, seized a rifle, and at the 
head of his men charged with fixed bayonets. The 
Austrians retreated and then fled. 

The bullets were whistling past our ears and falling 
like hail, killing men all round us. I leant towards the 
duke and whispered, ' I expect we shall find ourselves 
this evening a ca d'Bergniff!'^ 

'Not at all,' he answered; 'my plans are different. 
Someone is waiting for me this evening at Volta — but not 
Bergniff' While thus joking, the duke suddenly put his 
hand to his right thigh, saying in the same tone of voice, 
* I am wounded.' 

Seeing him so calm, and that he had not changed 
colour, I felt sure the wound could not be dangerous, but 
insisted on his going to a surgeon, who was behind a mul- 
berry hedge near by. We walked our horses quietly, as if 
we were only changing our places, and the surgeon pro- 
nounced the wound to have been made by a ricochetting 

^ ' Forward, my sons ; courage, forward ! ' 
2 ' House of the devil ' (hell). 


ball, and not serious, though it bled a good deal. As soon 
as the duke heard this he refused to have the wound 
dressed, and remounted to show himself to the troops, 
among whom the news that he was wounded was already- 
circulating. I then asked leave to go and tell the king, 
lest the news might reach him in an exaggerated form. 

Charles Albert had not heard of his son's wound, and 
was listening to my report, when Captain Franzini, the 
general's youngest brother, came from Peschiera with a 
letter from the Duke of Genoa. The king opened it with- 
Qut dropping his reins. Before he had time to read a word 
a projectile fell a few feet in front of his horse, which 
reared. The king drove his spurs into the beast and 
forced him to stand over the shell. We all remained 
motionless, but reflected, ' If that grenade bursts, the king 
will be blown up and all of us with him.' The shell did 
not burst ; the king read his letter, and with perfect calm- 
ness looked slowly round at us and said, — 

^ Messieurs y Peschiera est a nons!^ 

We saluted these words with a tremendous hurrah, 
which was taken up all along our line, followed by a 
general and voluntary attack with the bayonet, which 
sent the enemy flying. 

This engagement, and that of Pastrengo, were the 
most glorious days for the small, but courageous and 
well-disciplined Piedmontese army ; defended by excel- 
lent artillery, and composed of men who knew and trusted 
their officers. Had its leaders possessed resolution and 
audacity, the fate of Italy would have been decided in a 
few months. The hesitation and want of initiative and 
unity among the commanders, the weakness of the head 
of the general staff, and the badness of the commissariat 
damped its enthusiasm and destroyed many of its good 

^ During the whole campaign Charles Albert preserved his habit of talking 
French to us. 


qualities ; but not, as has been said and written, to such 
an extent as to cause insubordination or cowardice. Till 
the end of the campaign of 1848, in spite of attempts at 
corruption, the men were valorous and faithful to the king 
and the House of Savoy. 

As soon as I heard the good news that Peschiera was 
ours I started back to tell the duke, although I felt so ill 
that I could hardly sit my horse. He left for Volta after 
giving me his orders for the night's bivouacking, and I sent 
out to bring in the dead and wounded. The excitement 
which had sustained me all day then ceased, and I fell flat 
on the ground. 

Count Piatti, a Veronese, one of the officers in the 
duke's suite, came to my assistance. We saw a cart 
drawn by a donkey coming along with a wounded man 
in it, who turned out to be my cousin, Major Marmorito. 
I was lifted in, and we reached Volta late at night. Next 
morning I was all right again. 

The weather had changed to rain during the night, and 
our men suffered much, particularly from want of food. 
The commissariat broke down completely ; the contrac- 
tors lost their heads, and could not follow our rapid move- 
ments. In less than twenty-four hours we had concentrated 
eighteen thousand men at Goito. Not knowing the avail- 
able force of the enemy, whose second line was not far off, 
we were obliged to await the arrival of De Sonnaz's corps, 
summoned to Volta by Bava. Meanwhile we pre- 
pared for a more important battle to be fought on the 
same ground. 

There were a few trifling skirmishes between the 
Austrians and our outposts on the ist and 2d June; on 
the 3d the 2d corps arrived ; and on the 4th the staffs 
left Valeggio for Goito, where the army was in battle 
order. But it was too late ; the enemy, who were at Sacca, 
Ceresara, and Solarolo the night before, had disappeared 


A few thousand retired to Verona, but the greater 
number marched towards Mantua. The retreat was a 
blind to cover Radetzky's real destination — Vicenza — 
whence he proposed to drive Durando.^ Our troops 
advanced as far as the dyke of Curtatone and Monta- 
nara, but only found traces of the recent passage of the 
enemy, and returned in the evening to their old camping 
ground. The king and the duke went back to Valeggio, 
where we passed the month of June. The former was, 
however, often absent ; first going to take formal pos- 
session of Peschiera, and then passing some days at 
Garda, where he received Count Casati with the Lom- 
bard deputation, who presented the registers with 561,000 
signatures in favour of immediate annexion to Piedmont. 
Modena, Parma, Piacenza, and other cities on the right 
bank of the Po, had already sent in their votes. 

Several generals were summoned to Garda to discuss 
the various projects the king had under consideration. 
As soon as Franzini knew that Radetzky had marched 
on Vicenza he strongly advised following him ; while the 
king thought we had better take advantage of his absence 
to attack Verona. Bava was not averse, but insisted that 
the central positions round Goito should not be abandoned, 
or our retreat, in case of disaster, would be cut off. General 
de Sonnaz and others affirmed the necessity of driving the 
enemy from Rivoli before attempting to take Verona, and 
also suggested a rapid advance from Villafranca in order 
to cut off Radetzky's return. Charles Albert decided on 
attacking Verona during the absence of the Austrian com- 
mander-in-chief, and orders were given to concentrate at 

^ Unfortunately, he effected his purpose on the 9th and loth June. 
Durando had beaten off the Austrians on the 23d and 24th May, but now 
succumbed to superior numbers. Colonel Massimo d'Azeglio (volunteer) 
and Colonel Cialdini, lately come from Spain to offer his services to the 
Italian cause, were wounded on that murderous day at Vicenza. 


Villafranca on the 12th, and march thence on Verona, 
Tomba and Tombetta. 

Leaving Villafranca on the morning of the 13th we 
reached our destination the same evening. The duke's 
division was the first to reach Tomba, and on the way the 
superior officers heard the bad news that Vicenza had 
fallen and Durando had been forced to capitulate. This 
implied the probable return of Radetzky. We bivouacked 
that night (over 40,000 men) under the walls of Verona, 
hourly waiting for a signal that Caliari, a member of the 
famous Veronese Committee, was to give on the outbreak 
of the revolution inside the town. 

We looked in vain, no signal came; and at dawn on 
the 14th we received orders from headquarters, where 
Radetzky's return was known, to retire. 

At Valeggio ambassadors, diplomats, intermediaries, 
bringing advice or proposals for peace or mediation, were 
perpetually coming and going. A deputation arrived from 
Sicily to offer the crown to the Duke of Genova ; ministers 
came from Turin to , take orders, and to entreat that the 
war should be rapidly pushed on ; Parma, Piacenza and 
Modena sent members of their provisional governments 
begging for aid to counteract the intrigues of the deposed 
dukes and the retrograde party; while the Lombard re- 
presentatives insisted on immediate action and the em- 
ployment of the contingents sent by Lombardy, whose 
number they exaggerated. 

General Hector Perrone was organising these, a diffi- 
cult task, and one not to be accomplished in a few days ; 
and meanwhile their impatience reached fever heat. En- 
thusiasm turned to criticism ; odious suppositions and 
calumnies were rife, attacking even the king. 

Our numbers were immensely exaggerated. People 
talked of 120,000 or 130,000 men as against 70,000 or 75,000 
Austrians. In reality, we had fewer men than the enemy 


— 6500 were in hospital, and their number increased daily ; 
18,000 were in Venice, and about the same number were 
immobilised by the capitulations of Vicenza, Treviso and 
Palmanova.^ So that in July we had only 65,000 men 
under arms, and in worse condition than Radetzky's 75,000. 
Nevertheless, something had to be done. Charles Albert, 
daily importuned to move, waited in vain for the enemy 
to attack us. At last he charged Bava to prepare a plan 
of campaign, and the general suggested the blockade of 

I saw Bava several times while he was working at his 
plan and made objections to it, partly on strategical 
grounds, but chiefly on account of the time of year, 
which in that marshy country would be fatal to the 
health of our troops. However, he persisted in his idea, 
and gave me a copy of his plan for the Duke of Savoy, 
who, remembering how his proposal to prevent Nugent's 
juncture with Radetzky had been received, refused to look 
at it, determined never to speak about the conduct of the 
war with his father. 

Charles Albert resolved to execute Bava's design, but 
declined to recall the troops from Rivoli to form a second 
line and strengthen our weak centre. Never was a position 
so ill chosen or so contrary to military tactics as ours in 
July 1848. From the extreme right to the extreme left 
pur line covered thirty-one miles ; our right, near Mantua, 
was strong, our centre weak, and our left too far off to 
render any help. 

Bava had command of the right wing, consisting of 
from 30,000 to 36,000 men, soon reinforced by the arrival 
of General Perrone with his Lombard division of 9000; 
the left, under De Sonnaz, extended from Sommacam- 
pagna to Rivoli, and numbered little more than 15,000; 

1 One of the chief conditions imposed by the Austrians was not to bear 
arms against them during the war. 


in the centre, between Peschiera and Goito, was Broglia's 
division of about 10,000 to 12,000 men. 

On the 13th July the blockade of Mantua began, the 
divisions of the Dukes of Savoy and Genoa being 
stationed between Roverbella and Castel Belforte. 

The king's headquarters were at Marmirolo, ours at 
Roverbella, with rice fields to our left. The soldiers slept 
on the damp ground, the duke with his officers on straw 
in a miserable hut. In the early morning, when the reveille 
sounded, the fog was so dense over the fields that when 
we passed the men in review at a little distance we only 
saw their heads and shoulders. They looked like an army 
of busts. 

On the 23d July we heard cannonading in the direction 
of Sona and Sommacampagna. Sent by the duke to Mar- 
mirolo to ask for orders from General Salasco, he told me 
the army was to concentrate at Villafranca, charging me 
to send word also to the Duke of Genoa. I ventured to 
suggest that Villafranca was not a fortunate choice, but 
Salasco brusquely repeated his orders. 

At mid-day the division d'Arvillars, that of Victor 
Emanuel, and half the division of the Duke of Genoa, 
were marching towards Villafranca. Before leaving, the 
duke, with La Marmora, went to the king, and the latter 
made the same observation about Villafranca to Charles 
Albert as I had to Salasco, with the same result. On 
the way he again said that not Villafranca but Valeggio, 
a good defensive position, being surrounded by hills, 
would form an excellent support to the army. The king 
curtly replied, ' We go where the enemy's cannon calls us.' 
An excellent answer for whoso wishes to see a battlefield, 
but not for one who has to lead an army and place it in 
a position adapted for defence. 

A few hours later, having driven our left wing beyond 
Peschiera, and our centre across the Mincio, Radetzky took 


Valeggio. Fortifying himself there, he established his 
right wing, extending it past Custoza to Sommacampagna. 
He strongly occupied Monte Torre and Staffalo, opposite 
Villafranca, where the king had insisted on placing himself. 

Officers and men passed the night ready for the battle, 
which might begin at any moment. Charles Albert, irreso- 
lute and hesitating, was anxiously awaiting the arrival of 
Bava, who was at Governolo, where he fought a brilliant 
action on the 17th and i8th, and could not reach Villa- 
franca before 9.30 on the morning of the 24th. He 
showed great abnegation, unacquainted as he was with 
the position of the troops, in accepting the supreme com- 
mand, immediately handed over to him. 

All the hills opposite Villafranca, from Monte Torre 
to Staffalo and Berrettara, were occupied by the Austrians, 
so near to us that we saw them without glasses. Bava 
determined on an immediate attack, sent the Duke of 
Genoa to Sommacampagna, and ordered the Duke of Savoy 
to storm Monte Torre. With splendid dash our brave 
fellows rushed the position, and before night the tricolour 
flag waved from the heights whence the enemy had been 

The haste with which we had raised the blockade of 
Mantua and the usual improvidence and irregularity of 
headquarters in imparting orders, reacted on the com- 
missariat. Hardly any rations reached us during the 
night, and the men had not sufficient food to carry them 
through the second day's struggle on the heights of 

On the 25th our line of battle extended from Somma- 
campagna to Valeggio, the centre being occupied by our 
division. We were to attack the Austrian centre at Cus- 
toza ; the Duke of Genoa to recapture Sommacampagna ; 
and the king, with Bava, intended to drive the enemy from 


At daybreak the Duke of Savoy left Monte Torre for 
Custoza, expecting to find the enemy. They were, how- 
ever, drawn up at the foot of the heights which they had 
abandoned during the night. Victor Emanuel took up 
his position on the highest point, above a castle flanked by 
a group of cypress trees forming part of the large park, 
and I extended the line of the two brigades so as to keep 
in touch with the Duke of Genoa on one side and the 
troops on the Valeggio road on the other. About 1 1 a.m. 
the Austrians advanced in strong force and attacked the 
heights towards Berrettara, aiming especially at our front, 
defended by artillery to the right and left of the cypress 
wood. Heavy cannonading was followed by repeated 
charges of infantry, gallantly repulsed by our men. 

The heat was intense. Not a drop of water could be 
found on the top of the hill, and the morning's rations had 
been infinitesimal. Our men dropped from fatigue, sun- 
stroke, hunger, and thirst, so that after a few hours' fight- 
ing the companies were reduced from two hundred men to 
fifty or sixty. From the furious and repeated attacks of 
the enemy the duke and I concluded that he intended, 
at any cost, to carry our position, and thus cut our army 
in two, facilitating his operations under Valeggio and at 
Sommacampagna, or, at least, enabling him to cut off the 
retreat of the Duke of Genoa's division. 

At 1*30 Victor Emanuel sent me to headquarters to 
say that without immediate reinforcements our position 
could not be held. The heat was suffocating, and I could 
not resist drinking at the first rivulet, dirty though it was. 
In twenty minutes I found Bava, who, with the king, was 
in a field within range of the enemy's guns. At the same 
moment a messenger came with a note from De Sonnaz. 
His troops had fought on the 22d at Rivoli, on the 23d at 
Sona and Santa Giustina, and after leaving Peschiera, had 
marched for over twelve hours with the intention of reach- 



ing Borghetto or Volta about 5 p.m., and falling on the 
enemy's rear. On reading this Bava exhorted me to use 
every effort to hold out, as not only could he not send us help, 
but he was anxiously expecting it himself from De Sonnaz. 
With this answer I galloped back to Custoza a little before 
3 p.m. The enemy's cannon was sweeping our position ; 
we saw them below preparing for a fresh assault, and our 
companies were reduced by one-half! I had all the doors 
and shutters of the castle taken down to serve as litters 
to transport the wounded, as fast as they fell, to Villafranca. 
The duke determined to go in person and tell Bava and 
the king that unless reinforcements were sent we should 
have to evacuate Custoza before we succumbed to the ever 
increasing Austrian forces. He handed the command 
of the division over to me, and only a few minutes after 
his departure we were vehemently attacked. Once more, 
shouting * Savoia' we drove the enemy down the hill at 
the point of the bayonet. 

The Austrians, unaware how small our force was, pro- 
bably thought that, like their own, it had been renewed ; 
so at 4*30 we were still masters of the position. Im- 
patiently I awaited the return of the duke, but while 
continuing preparations to resist I got ready for a retreat 
on Gherla, which seemed to me inevitable. Fresh Austrian 
columns were seen advancing, when Count Zamojsky, a 
Pole in the suite of Charles Albert, galloped up with the 
order to retire. Being prepared, we were able to withdraw 
before the arrival of the enemy, who only found an aban- 
doned position. Worn out, they did not follow us, and the 
division, ranged in order of battle on the plain of Gherla, 
was joined by the duke, with orders to protect the retreat 
of all the troops coming from Valeggio. Our retreat was 
undisturbed, save by a few detachments of cavalry. Even 
the Austrians did not know how to follow up a victory ! 

The battle was lost for want of men. Had the (division. 


uselessly left behind at Mantua, been brought up, reinforce- 
ments might have been sent to the divisions of the Dukes 
of Savoy and Genoa, and to the force before Valeggio. 

Late in the evening we reached Villafranca, and abun- 
dant rations were distributed to prepare the men for the 
march and expected battle next day. The duke and I, 
tired out, lay down in a freshly-ploughed field ; it rained 
all night, but we slept too well to feel it, and were wet 
through and stiff next morning. There was, however, no 
time to think of myself, as our division had to protect the 
rear during the retreat on Goito. I was extremely anxious, 
as I expected the enemy would attack our flank from 
Valeggio, or our rear guard. But Radetzky let slip the 
opportunity to crush us, and our flank was only attacked 
once by cavalry, easily repulsed. 

To our surprise, on crossing the Mincio, where we took 
up a position fronting the river, we found De Sonnaz, with 
his men utterly exhausted. It was reported that, on reach- 
ing Volta much later than he expected, he found orders 
leaving it to his judgment to hold the place or abandon it. 
He chose the latter course ; why, I never knew. The king 
was very angry, as the Austrians occupied Volta the instant 
De Sonnaz left, and curtly bade him go back and re-take 
the position. 

He left about 6 p.m. with the brigade Savoia, on the 
promise that the brigade Regina should follow soon. The 
attack was made at night, and half way up the hill the 
confusion was terrible — so great, that our men killed each 
other in the dark. Nevertheless, they got to the summit 
and reached the piazza in front of the church. Here the Aus- 
trians, pouring out of every street, overpowered and drove 
them back, the promised brigade never having arrived. 

The return of these beaten troops had a most dis- 
heartening effect on the rest, who, that very morning, 
had seen contractors, civil servants, representatives of pro- 


visional governments, and country folk, flying panic-stricken 
at the announcement of the Austrian successes. 

Supplies failed entirely on the 27th. The staff had 
nothing but green cobs of maize gathered in the fields, 
which they dipped in brandy and water. In the evening the 
army was so demoralised that the king called a council of 
generals for 8 o'clock next morning to propose a suspension 
of hostilities. Seeing La Marmora, as chief of the staff to 
the Duke of Genoa, preparing to attend the council, I was 
going to accompany the Duke of Savoy, when Bava called 
me. Expecting to be engaged for some time, he put me 
in command of all the troops round Goito, with orders to 
place part in line of battle in case of an attack, and at the 
same time to make preparations for a probable imminent 

While I was carrying out his orders, the Generals Bes 
and Rossi, with La Marmora, who knew some of the Aus- 
trian commanders, were sent to the enemy's headquarters. 
Radetzky's conditions were peremptory. The king must 
retire beyond the Adda, give back Peschiera, recall his 
troops from the Duchies, and immediately treat for peace. 
Without hesitation the king refused. 

When Bava joined me, I told him everything was ready 
for retreating across the Po, which seemed our wisest course. 
By putting the river between us and the enemy, and pre- 
paring to be ready at any moment to attack his flank, we 
prevented his advance on Milan. For this reason I had 
already sent several columns towards Borgo forte. 

' You are perfectly right,' he exclaimed. * But every- 
thing must be changed. The king is absolutely determined 
to retire on Milan.' * Then,' I replied, * we shall draw the 
enemy on, and be powerless to impede or even repel him.' 
* I know,' said Bava ; * but the king thinks it his duty to 
become the paladin of the Milanese and lead his army 
under their walls. A chivalrous idea, if you like ; but 


it will probably be our ruin, and he will not understand 

From the Mincio we retreated to the Oglio the king, 
with the 1st corps, marching towards Bozzolo; and on the 
morning of the 30th the army was under Cremona, which 
Charles Albert had thought of defending. When he ex- 
amined the environs of the city, he saw it was impossible. 

At Grotta d'Adda the army crossed the river (Adda) 
on a bridge of boats thrown over during the night. The 
division of the Duke of Savoy formed the rearguard, and 
the bridge was broken up before the Austrians arrived. 

Charles Albert's intention was to defend the line of the 
Adda as far as Lodi. Two excellent brigades, three bat- 
teries, and three squadrons of cavalry had been sent there 
by Bava, under a general who was to be reinforced by the 
Lombard division. On the ist August we heard that the 
Austrians, protected by the fire of an admirably placed 
battery, were throwing a bridge over the Adda opposite 
our position, and that the general, convinced he would not 
be able to resist, had retreated on Piacenza. This desertion 
of his post displaced our right wing and exposed our army 
to be taken in the rear. The general probably thought, as 
did many others, that the army would retreat on Piacenza ; 
but his orders were precise, and by not carrying them out 
he placed us under the necessity of retiring beyond the 
Adda towards Milan. 

Our division left Grotta d'Adda for Codogno, where we 
hoped to pass the night ; but orders came to continue the 
march towards S. Angelo and Borghetto. All that night, 
all next morning, and all through the hottest hours of that 
sultry 2d of August, our poor soldiers tramped on towards 
Milan. On the 3d we were in the suburbs. Bava disposed 
the troops in a semi-circle, extending from Chiesarossa and 
Naviglio di Pavia on the right to Porta Orientale on the 
left. The division of the Duke of Savoy was encamped 


on the bastions of Porta Renza (now Porta Venezia), 
reaching beyond Porta Romana. The king established his 
headquarters in a small inn at S. Giorgio outside Porta 
Romana. To defend the Milanese, Charles Albert had 
placed the army in jeopardy, and staked his kingdom and 
throne. Believing in the fine promises of the Lombard repre- 
sentatives, he had come to Milan expecting to find the city 
fortified and well provisioned. On his arrival, Generals 
Chiodo and Rossi, who had preceded us, met him with the 
news that no preparations had been made for the troops. 
The city was silent and deserted ; the few inhabitants who 
remained were cold, disappointed, and reproachful. 

At daybreak on the 4th the large Austrian army came 
in sight, and the first shots were fired about 10 a.m. The king 
at once, as though he courted death, threw himself in the 
thickest of the fight The Porta Romana had been barri- 
caded, and from the bastions the Grenadiers kept the enemy 
at bay till the evening, when they gained ground, and at 
nightfall had advanced close under the ramparts. S. 
Giorgio, the headquarters of the king, was in the line occu- 
pied by them, so he was forced to enter the city, and took 
up his abode in the Greppi Palace. 

The duke and I, after visiting Charles Albert, returned 
to our men and passed the night on a heap of stones by 
the roadside. Meanwhile the king, by the advice of some 
of the generals summoned to a hasty council, had sent 
two of them to Radetzky late in the evening, offering to 
surrender the city on the condition that the lives and pro- 
perty of the inhabitants should be respected, and that the 
Sardinian army was allowed to retire unmolested to the 
right bank of the Ticino. Radetzky immediately accepted 
the offer made by Charles Albert under the stress of dire 
necessity. The main park of artillery had been sent to 
Piacenza ; the provisions of the smaller parks had been 
exhausted during the battle; there was no ammunition 


in the city, and very little powder. The supply of pro- 
visions was barely sufficient for three days, and no 
preparations had been made by the provisional govern- 
ment of Milan for defending the town or victualling the 
army. Resistance was therefore impossible. 

As soon as the terrible news of the capitulation was 
known the whole city rose. Incited by the Mazzinian 
Republicans and the Anarchists, a howling mob assembled 
round the Greppi Palace, hurling abuse at the king and 
his officers. 

Towards mid-day I begged the duke to allow me to 
take a battalion and liberate the king. Knowing the usual 
cowardice of a mob, I was sure the sight of our Grenadiers 
would be sufficient to disperse them. But the duke re- 
fused, fearing lest maddened by the sight of the troops, 
they might invade the Greppi Palace, abandoned by the 
Civic Guard, and endanger the life of the king. 

With great difficulty Bava escaped out of the palace 
in the afternoon, and came to concert with the Duke of 
Savoy what measures to take in case the enemy, hearing 
of our internal discords, should attempt an attack. He 
said the Duke of Genoa, who went to see his father, was 
imprisoned with him, and that the mob had fired at the 
windows of the palace and at the balcony when the king 
showed himself; while those inside left him no peace, and 
at last induced him to say, 'Well, as you desire it, we 
will continue the struggle.' 

Continue the struggle! Without artillery, money, or 
food, and after an armistice had been asked for and 
granted ! Yet even Bava, to whom Charles Albert 
turned for advice, had answered that war with the 
Austrians was preferable to tearing each other to pieces 
under their eyes. 

At nightfall, when the city seemed calmer, Victor 
Emanuel allowed me to go with a battalion of Grenadiers 


to the king's aid. I took Lieutenant Piati, a Veronese, with 
me, as he knew Milan well and could guide us by side 
streets. At Porta Renza we heard that Colonel La Marmora, 
with a company of Bersaglieri, had just left on the same 
errand as ourselves, and determined to take an opposite 
direction in order, if necessary, to take the mob between 
two fires. 

We arrived at the Greppi Palace as the king crossed 
the threshold. He was on foot, deadly pale, and aged in 
face and figure. He held his sword tight under his arm, 
and, when he saw me, said, 'Ah, mon cher La Rocca, 
quelle journ^e, quelle journee.' 

I shall never forget the tone of his voice. 

He ordered me to tell his son to come and meet him, and 
when I returned with the duke we found Bava, who had also 
brought troops. These, with the Grenadiers and Bersaglieri, 
formed an escort ; and Bava begged the king to take a 
few hours' rest at his quarters in the Calchi-Taeggi College. 
The duke and I then returned to ours — the heap of stones 
by the roadside. 

At daybreak the king mounted his horse and, followed 
by the army, left the city by Porta Vercellina. Taking 
three different roads, we began the march towards Pied- 

The Austrians entered Milan on the 6th, the city being 
made over to them by Major Robert Morozzo, my brother, 
commanding one of the two battalions of the Grenadier 
Guards, which had been left in charge outside Porta 


END OF 1848. BEGINNING OF 1 849 

Vigevano — Armistice signed at Milan — General Bava's Account of the Cam- 
paign — Is dismissed and succeeded by General Czarnowsky — His Plans 
— I am named Major-General — Our Retreat on Novara — Hard Fight- 
ing at Bicocca — We are driven back on Novara — Charles Albert 
abdicates — Victor Emanuel becomes King — I rally Fugitives — Am 
called to Turin by Victor Emanuel, and become Minister of War. 

Our division left Milan for Vigevano, followed by all 
those who had participated in the * five days ' ^ of March, 
and the revolutionary movements of the following months, 
or who had fought in our ranks as volunteers. So little 
did they trust the promises of the Austrians, that they 
preferred condemning their families to exile. Women and 
small children were seated on the artillery waggons and 
even on the cannon, and the burning August sun added 
to the misery of our march. But, once across the river, 
things changed for the better. We were at home. At 
Vigevano one of the best houses had been assigned to 
the duke and his staff, and as soon as I could leave him 
I went in search of a haberdasher's shop. In the con- 
fusion of the last few days our baggage had disappeared, 

"J On the 1 8th March the Revolution burst out in Milan. During the 
night of the 19th seventeen hundred barricades were erected in the streets ; 
on the 2 1st the palaces of the viceroy and of the police, and the cathedral fell 
into the hands of the people. There was fighting in every street, and the 
Croats committed horrible outrages on women and children. On the night 
of the 22d the citadel was set on fire by the Austrians, and Radetzky quitted 
the city with his troops. — Translator's Note. 



and since my arrival on the ramparts of Milan I had not 
changed my clothes. The sensation of a clean shirt was 

As soon as the king arrived he was besieged by 
deputations and politicians ; everyone wanted to condole, 
advise and suggest. Casati, President of the Council, and 
Count Borromeo visited the king to express, in the name 
of many Milanese, their sorrow at the scenes which had 
occurred under his windows ; and the king assured them 
that he believed the mob was composed of strangers 
directed by the Republican party. Be that as it may, 
I am impartial enough to understand the anger of the 
Milanese at seeing their city once more in the possession 
of the Austrians, whom they had driven out five months 
before. Still, they had no right to lay the whole blame 
on Charles Albert and the Piedmontese army, in which, I 
must confess, there existed deep and undisguised indig- 
nation against the Lombards. 

The armistice was signed at Milan on the 9th August. 
Charles Albert relinquished Peschiera, Lombardy, Parma, 
Piacenza, Modena and Venice, from which places all 
Italian troops were to be immediately withdrawn. The 
armistice was to last six weeks, with power to prolong 
it indefinitely by mutual assent, or to renew hostilities 
after a week's warning. 

The king transferred his headquarters from Vigevano 
to Alessandria, and soon after went to Turin, leaving 
Bava in supreme command. The Duke of Savoy had 
established his headquarters at Valenza for the winter, 
and sent me almost daily to confer with the commander- 
in-chief, who knew and liked me, treating me as a friend 
rather than a subordinate. Bava was profoundly hurt by 
the criticisms and accusations of the common herd, 
which made no allowances for his exceptional position 
with Charles Albert, who often obliged him, as at 


Custoza, to assume the command of an army already- 
placed by others in a badly chosen position. 

The ministry — Alfieri, Revel, Pinelli, with General 
Dabormida as minister of war — and those immediately 
round the king, suggested that the commander of the 
next campaign should be one who had held no command 
in the last war, or, better still, a foreigner. Marshal 
Bugeaud, who had distinguished himself in Africa, was 
mentioned ; failing him, Changarnier or Lamoriciere, and 
so on, down to the youngest of the French generals. 
Alphonse La Marmora, a great friend of Dabormida, 
accepted the arduous task of going to beg a commander 
for a beaten and disheartened army, whose confidence 
in its old commanders was thus utterly destroyed. His 
mission was a failure; and before he returned to Turin 
a new ministry, with Gioberti at its head, was in power — 
the third since the armistice. 

General Czarnowsky, a Pole, was sent to Alessandria 
as chief of the staff to Bava, who said to me next day, 
*They have sent me a Pole, a perfect monkey, small, 
ugly, with the voice of an eunuch, as chief of the staff, in 
case hostilities should be resumed. You, who know what 
the duties of a head of the staff are, can perhaps tell me 
what I am to do with a foreigner who does not know the 
country, the language, the officers, or the men.' 

Soon after the storm burst, which Bava drew upon 
himself by publishing his account of the campaign of 
1848, written in reply to a circular from the minister of 
war, Dabormida, to all the generals in command. I also 
received one, and related the general movements of our 
division, and the actions at Pastrengo and Custoza led by 
myself The duke signed the former, I the latter. 

Bava's relation created considerable sensation, and 
was blamed for the extreme severity of some of his 
criticisms on soldiers and officers. The scandal deter- 


mined the ministry to take a step which had already 
been mooted. The minister of war ordered him to hand 
over the command to General Czarnowsky, and at the 
same time Gioberti, President of the Council, wrote a 
private letter, expressing sorrow at being obliged to 
dispense with his services on account of the stir made 
by his book. 

Gioberti's ministry fell a few days later, to be replaced 
by one in favour of war at any cost. General Chiodo, 
one of the first pupils of the polytechnic school instituted 
by the French, was President of the Council with the 
portfolios of War and Marine. He knew little about 
military matters, and, like the rest of his party, chiefly 
lawyers, thought everything must go well with a foreigner 
as commander-in-chief. Czarnowsky was proposed to the 
king by his countryman Zamojsky, whom I have already 
mentioned during the campaign of 1848. Had he pos- 
sessed all the military qualities which he lacked, he 
would have failed in reorganising such an army as ours 
then was, composed of discordant elements, and unpre- 
pared for entering on a campaign. The ministry which 
pushed king and nation into war assumed a tremendous 
responsibility. They risked the future, not only of Italy, 
but of Piedmont, which, once our troops were annihilated, 
might have ceased to be a European state, and become a 
Lombard province of the Austrian empire. 

Recruits had been trained during the armistice, volun- 
teers had joined from Lombardy and other parts of Italy, 
and the regiments had been augmented from eighteen 
to twenty-three ; but everything was in disorder, all 
ranks were disheartened and utterly averse to renewed 
hostilities. Ten or more generals had left the service, 
and there was a dearth of officers to instruct the raw 

A few days after General Czarnowsky assumed the 


command he came to Valenza to pay his respects to the 
heir of the throne. The duke sent me to receive the 
general while he finished some work he had on hand, 
and my reception was not a warm one. I liked and 
esteemed Bava, and the presence of this Pole as com- 
mander-in-chief of Piedmontese troops seemed to me a 
gratuitous insult to the army I belonged to. He did 
not notice my coldness, and at once began to talk 
about his plans for the approaching campaign. I soon 
saw that he would repeat the errors which had already 
been committed on the Mincio — too extended a posi- 
tion and a lack of reserves. He talked of occupying 
the right bank of the Ticino, from the Po under Pavia 
to the Lago Maggiore, and of sending small detachments 
on to the right bank of the Po to confront the Austrians 
in case they tried to enter Piedmont ; but all was based 
on the idea that they would start from Milan. As he 
spoke I had a presentiment of coming misfortune, 
and he said, *Vous n'avez pas I'air d'approuver mes 
projets.' I had barely answered, * II ne m'appartient 
pas de les critiquer,' when he was summoned by the 
duke, to whom he repeated the same story. It was 
like a lesson learned by heart, which he recited to all 
those he thought had any authority. If they talked 
about it to others it was more than likely that Radetzky 
knew the whole plan before the campaign began. 

On the 1 2th March 1849 Major R. Cadorna was sent 
to denounce the armistice for the 20th. On the i6th 
I was summoned by the king to Alessandria, where he 
had just arrived with the new commander-in-chief. His 
Majesty told me I had been named major-general in 
command of the brigade Acqui, composed of the 17th 
and 23d regiments. I bowed my thanks, but l?egged 
to be allowed to refuse promotion, and to remain with 
the duke. The king frowned and insisted. So miserable 


was I at the thought of leaving Victor Emanuel just as 
war was declared, that I ventured to express my fears 
for the issue of the campaign. Charles Albert listened 
and replied, *Vous vous trompez, tout ira bien. C'est 
moi qui vous le dit'. And as I again begged not to be 
promoted, 'Plus un mot. Allez tout de suite prendre 
le commandement de votre brigade ; je vous I'ordonne.' 

On paper our army consisted of over one hundred and 
twenty thousand men, but our real number was under 
eighty thousand, while Radetzky had ninety thousand. 

At mid-day on the 20th March, Czarnowsky, absolutely 
ignorant of the enemy's movements, but having made up 
his mind that they would march towards Magenta, crossed 
the Mincio in that direction with Charles Albert. Instead 
of the Austrian outposts he expected, only terrified and 
discontented inhabitants were seen, who reported that 
large masses of Austrian troops had gone towards Pavia 
some days before. In fact, at that very hour, 60,000 
Austrians were passing the Ticino on three bridges to 
occupy Piedmontese territory in the direction of Mortara. 
Only a few troops of the Lombard division confronted 
this invasion, among them the battalion of students from 
Milan and Triest, who, under Lucien Manara, defended 
the position of Cava with the greatest bravery. On the 
17th General Ramorino had already received orders to 
place the whole Lombard division on the left bank of the 
Po ; but he disobeyed, and kept his men on the right. 

I reached Montara early on the 21st, and found the 
troops in marching order. My brigade was in column, so, 
instead of putting them in line to receive me as is the 
custom, Bes rode with me through the ranks to introduce 
me to my men. Their appearance was satisfactory ; one 
regiment was composed of old soldiers, the other of 
recruits instructed by Colonel Cialdini. After a short 
march, Austrian outposts were reported ; so, skirting Vige- 


vano, we entered a large farm surrounded by walls, which 
we proceeded to loophole, while Bes drew up the division 
in order of battle, to arrest, partially at all events, the 
enemy's advance on Mortara. My brigade was thus in 
the first line of the attack, to which the 17th opposed a 
steady and gallant resistance. The 23d charged the 
enemy's infantry with the bayonet, but as they tried to 
surround us, I ordered my men to form squares. In one 
of these the major fell mortally wounded, and the flagstaff 
was broken. In an instant the square broke. Cialdini 
and I threw ourselves among the men, and by dint of 
blows with the flat of our swords stopped their flight. It 
was a momentary thing, and the men fought well after- 
wards. Late in the afternoon the brigade Casale, which 
had lost its way, came to our aid, and the brigade Savoia, 
excellent troops, and so full of dash that notwithstand- 
ing the large reinforcements perpetually received by the 
enemy, we had hopes of converting an undecisive but 
brilliant action into a great victory. But Czarnowsky, with 
Charles Albert, came from Vigevano and decided the 
decisive action had better be fought next day. At the 
same time, bad news came from Mortara, where the 
divisions of Durando and the Duke of Savoy had been 
beaten. Fearing to be taken in the rear, Czarnowsky 
resolved on retreating towards Novara, where he sent 
fifty thousand men to cut Radetzky's road. We passed 
the night on the farm, and Charles Albert insisted on 
sleeping in the midst of the Savoy brigade on the bare 
ground. I suppose he was very tired, for he slept so pro- 
foundly that the constant passage of officers and men, who 
came to look at his tall, fateful figure and worn, pale face, 
did not wake him. 

A little after dawn on the 22d March we began our 
march on Novara, and only arrived under the walls of the 
town at nightfall. On the way I had to pass, at the head 


of my brigade, before the king and Czarnowsky. In spite 
of the change of uniform, Charles Albert recognised me at 
once and, with the old gesture used at Racconigi years 
ago, beckoned me to his side. Complimenting me on the 
behaviour of my men the previous day, he continued, * Ne 
vous avais-je pas dit a Alexandrie, La Rocca, que tout 
irait bien ? ' These were the last words I heard Charles 
Albert speak, and it was the last time I saw him. For 
many years he was a strange enigma to me and to many 
about him. Only in 1847 did we begin to have an inkling 
of the true reason for his contradictory conduct — a fixed 
resolution to free Italy from the Austrian rule ; a resolu- 
tion carefully hid from others, because he did not think 
the time for acting had yet come. 

We camped under the walls of Novara, and at dawn 
the army was in order of battle. The Duke of Savoy 
passed close to me on the way to his position, riding a 
wretched horse belonging to his household. On seeing 
me he exclaimed, * You don't know how I wished for you 
yesterday. We were utterly beaten at Mortara ; all my 
equipage and my horses were taken, so I had to send for 
this brute, in order not to lead the troops on foot. Let us 
hope to-day will not be a repetition of yesterday.' I did 
not see him again for five days, when, after our defeat and 
the abdication of Charles Albert, he sent for me at Turin 
to entrust me with the Ministry for War. 

On the 23d March about fifty thousand men were 
drawn up in order of battle a kilometre to the south of 
Novara. Three divisions in two lines covered three kilo- 
metres — Durano on the right, Perrone on the left, and Bes, 
to which my brigade belonged, in the centre. Some 
battalions of sharp-shooters covered my front. The 
divisions of the Duke of Genoa and the Duke of Savoy 
were in reserve, the first on the high land behind Bicocca, 
a small village on the very summit of the hill ; the second, 


behind Durazzo, was stationed between the place d'armes 
and the road to Vercelli. Our position could only be 
turned at a considerable distance towards Trecate or 
Vercelli. The disposition of our troops was excellent ; 
but, as in 1848, and later in 1866, the quarter-master- 
general's staff was absolutely in the dark as to the move- 
ments of the enemy. 

Both Radetzky and Czarnowsky had the same design 
of concentrating their troops between Novara and Vercelli, 
but we had outmarched the Austrians on the 22d ; so 
their first troops, under General d'Aspre, who had no idea 
how large our force was, only appeared in sight about 
10 a.m. in the direction of Olengo. He deployed the 
division of the Archduke Albert in front of our left at 
Bicocca, and in front of Perrone's division ; then, seeing 
how numerous his adversary was, sent in haste to warn 
Radetzky and ask for reinforcements. Czarnowsky, on the 
contrary, never noticed the smallness of the Austrian force, 
and, instead of immediately assuming the offensive, stood 
on the defensive, and only pushed forward by degrees the 
troops of the divisions of the Duke of Genoa and Perrone 
towards Bicocca. 

The Piedmontese army opposed a stolid resistance to 
the enemy's attack ; and Bicocca was lost and retaken five 
times. General Passalaqua, commanding the Piedmont 
brigade, wrested several positions from the Austrian, and 
fell mortally wounded, while the Duke of Genoa had three 
horses killed under him. The enemy was driven out of 
Olengo, and at 2 p.m. d'Aspre, not having yet been rein- 
forced, retired from all his positions. About an hour later, 
his reinforcements began to arrive in small quantities, when 
Czarnowsky ought to have attacked vigorously and driven 
the enemy back across the Ticino. But he stood the 
whole day on the defensive, moving forward small bodies 
of troops at intervals. Not only did he let slip the favour- 



able moment, but he recalled the Duke of Genoa, who 
had driven d'Aspre beyond Castellazzo. This mistaken 
movement gave fresh courage to the Austrian general, who 
immediately reoccupied Castellazzo. At that moment 
General Perrone, encouraging part of his division, which 
had given way, to advance, received the wound of which 
he died two days later. 

The Austrians were gradually gaining ground when 
Czarnowsky ordered up two regiments of the reserve, and 
one (the i/th) of our division, and again the enemy was 
forced to retire. But General Thurn now came up with 
large reinforcements. Crossing by the Bridge of Agogna, 
where only one detachment of cavalry was posted, 
Colonel Montevecchio was unable to stop the advance of 
so large a force. Radetzky, who was on a small hill on 
the Mortara road, watching the battle, sent orders to attack 
Bicocca vigorously in front, and only then did Czarnowsky 
resolve to move forward on the front and right. While 
Bes and Durando pushed back the weak body of Austrians 
that fronted them, Czarnowsky hastened towards Bicocca. 
But the enemy had already taken Castellazzo and the 
surrounding positions, and entered Bicocca. In vain 
Czarnowsky attempted to reconquer it ; in vain the Duke 
of Genoa, who having had his horses killed under him 
was fighting on foot, made a desperate effort with only 
three battalions ; Bicocca had to be abandoned to the 
enemy. Our army, attacked in front and on both flanks, 
was driven back on Novara. The crush and confusion at 
the city gate was terrible, of which, fortunately, the enemy 
did not take advantage, but, halting at some distance from 
the walls, bivouacked for the night under pouring rain. By 
the defeat of our left, the centre and the right were placed 
in a most perilous position, so Colonel Alexander La Mar- 
mora (chief of the staff) took it on himself to order a retreat 
before receiving orders from Czarnowsky. The engage- 


ment of our division had hardly begun when the aide-de- 
camp of Czarnowsky came to tell Bes to retire. * In what 
direction ? ' asked the general. ' I don't know,' was the 
answer. Bes consulted with us and replied, ' Tell whoever 
sent you that I shall retreat in the direction of the Agogna, 
and thence to the province of Biella.' Then, turning to me, 
he added, ' Will you, who only left the staff a few days ago, 
resume your old functions for the moment and be our 
guide ? ' I accepted and, taking a battalion of infantry, a 
squadron of cavalry, a battery of artillery and a company 
of Bersaglieri, reconnoitered in the direction of Romagnano. 
' I will collect one division,' said Bes, ' and before long will 
join you.' At about 8 p.m. the body of the army retreated 
in dire confusion. The soldiers, who had eaten nothing all 
day, dispersed in the city, sacking the bakers' shops and 
eating-houses. Our defeat was utter. Charles Albert, who, 
towards the end of the day, had in vain courted death, by 
exposing himself to the enemy's fire on the old city bas- 
tions, was taken almost by force by General G. Durando, his 
aide-de-camp, to the headquarters. There he called a few 
generals, the minister Cadorna, and the representatives of 
the provisional governments who were in camp, and laid 
Marshal Radetzky's hard conditions before them. The 
king could not bring himself to accept them, so resolved to 
abdicate in favour of his son Victor Emanuel, hoping that 
he might succeed in obtaining better terms. That same 
night Charles Albert left with a passport in the name of 
Count of Barge, accompanied by a cabinet courier and a 

I was meanwhile proceeding in the direction of Biella 
with about eight hundred infantry and two hundred cavalry. 
After an hour's march on the road leading to Romagnano 
I halted to give the division time to come up. Fugitives of 
every arm were perpetually passing, flying more for want 
of a leader than from fear. With the aid of Captain Cugia, I 


stopped and rallied them, and in a few hours found myself 
at the head of several thousand. At last Bes arrived, but 
without the troops and without his head of the staff, who 
had remained behind to guide the division. We waited for 
them in vain. By Czarnowsky's orders they had entered 
Novara, surrounded on three sides by the enemy, and thence 
retreated to Momo. At daybreak we reached Romagnano, 
fed our men as well as we could, and at mid-day we arrived 
at Biella, where Bes called a council of war of all the officers 
to deliberate on what we should do. Opinions differed ; 
some proposed returning to Novara, others to march to 
Turin, while Bes wished to gain the Val d'Aosta in Savoy, 
and raise the population to fight the Austrians. He made 
sure that the army had laid down their arms, and that the 
whole country behind us was in the hands of the enemy. 
From the first I had advocated the necessity of recon- 
noitering to find out what had happened in our rear, and 
at last offered to go myself Our horses were worn out, so, 
with the help of the syndic, I got a small ^\^ with a bad 
horse, and, with Major d'Auvare, returned by the road we 
had come by. It was snowing hard, and after some hours 
we met, near Cossato, the regiment of Novara cavalry under 
Colonel Maffei. He reported Austrian troops a little to 
his rear, and that we should be taken prisoners if we went 
further. Returning to Biella, we found that Bes had 
already left taking our horses with him. So, leaving our 
vehicle, we set out on foot for Ivrea, and made our report 
to the general, who, convinced that the army was utterly 
beaten, decided we ought to march directly on Turin to 
defend the capital. 

We had collected over seven thousand men during our 
retreat, and at Castellamonte, where we halted for the night, 
the syndic gave us notice that Charles Albert had abdicated, 
and Victor Emanuel been named his successor to the 
throne. Bes immediately handed over the command to 


me, with directions to go to the Veneria and await his 
orders, saying, rather mysteriously, that political events 
called him to Turin. At Biella and Ivrea, I had noticed 
that the general was surrounded by men belonging to the 
Democratic party, and supposed they wanted him to enter 
into some ministerial combination. On the 26th I reached 
the Veneria with my defeated troops, and soon after our 
arrival a royal courier brought a letter from the new 
king, Victor Emanuel, calling me to Turin. At the royal 
palace I found several officers by whom the portfolio of 
war and marine had been refused. The king greeted me 
with great cordiality, described the scene of his father's 
abdication and the conditions of the armistice, and told 
me of his meeting at Vignale with Radetzky, and his 
return to, and glacial reception at, Turin. He found that 
the Chambers, ignorant of the disastrous events of Novara, 
had sat all night, and taken upon themselves to decide the 
fate of the country and oblige the nation to continue the 
war. Victor Emanuel did not appear the least affected by 
the unfavourable aspect of affairs. He had been trying 
to form a ministry, but could get no one to accept the 
portfolio of war. Knowing my devotion to himself, he 
begged me to undertake the ungrateful task. I was not 
afraid of the responsibility, or of the official work of a 
ministry, but the idea of having to present myself before 
the Chambers was most alarming, Victor Emanuel said 
he was goijlg to dissolve Parliament and appeal to the 
country, so the Chambers could not meet again for two 
or three months. Again begging me to accept, at all 
events for the moment, he added that if I found the work 
distasteful we could then look for a successor. Under 
these conditions I accepted. 

1849 — Continued 

The First Ministry of King Victor Emanuel — Stormy Scene in the Chambers 
— Revolt in Genoa — Disbanding the Lombard Legion — General 
Ramorino condemned and shot — Victor Emanuel and Radetzky meet — 
Negotiations for Peace — D'Azeglio becomes Prime Minister — Peace is 
ratified — Death of Charles Albert — I leave the Ministry and marry. 

General Count de Launay, the head of the first 
ministry of Victor Emanuel, had been recommended for the 
post by Charles Albert when he abdicated. A Liberal in 
politics, he was a man of good common sense and great 
determination, a perfect gentleman, and devoted to the 
House of Savoy. The other members of the Cabinet were 
Pinelli, a lawyer, who had been a minister before ; Nigra, 
the banker, well known as the most honest of men ; C. 
Mameli, De Margherita, F. Galvagno and myself. On 
the 28th March the new Cabinet presented itself to the 
Chambers. Hostile murmurs greeted De Launay, and 
continued as we took our seats on the Ministerial bench ; 
directed chiefly, as it appeared, against the president's and 
my military uniforms.^ De Launay drew himself up and, 
looking straight at Bunico, Vice-President ^ of the Chamber, 
began to introduce his colleagues. Bunico immediately 

^ We had just come from Palazzo Madama, where we accompanied the 
king to swear to uphold the Constitution, and had not had time to change our 

2 Pareto, the president, had gone to Genoa to foment the disorders which 
had broken out there against the conclusion of peace. 



interrupted him, saying that as he had not asked permission 
he could not speak. 'Then I demand leave to speak/ 
answered De Launay, with wonderful calmness. ' Who 
are you ? ' replied Bunico. * I am General de Launay. 
named President of the Council and Minister of Foreign 
Affairs by King Victor Emanuel.' * Speak/ was the curt 
answer. De Launay presented us by name ; and then 
began a series of interpellations on the causes of our 
defeat, and the conditions of the armistice were demanded. 
Pinelli rose and read them aloud, * Dispersion of the 
Lombard legion ; the fleet to be withdrawn from the 
Adriatic ; our territory between the Po, the Sesia, and the 
Ticino to be occupied by the Austrians ; the withdrawal of 
our troops from all territory belonging before the war to the 
Lombard-Venetian States ; and a mixed garrison in the 
citadel of Alessandria. Every article was hailed with 
indignant shouts, and insults were hurled at those who 
had accepted such conditions. Speeches were made by 
lawyers, who, knowing nothing about military matters, or 
about the real state of the country, accused this person or 
that of stupidity, incapacity, and even of treachery. One 
of them spoke, as it seemed to me, so offensively against 
the army, that, forgetting where I was, I sprang up, and 
was rushing at him with doubled fists, when Pinelli gripped 
one skirt of my tunic and tore it, so I was obliged to sit 
down again. Then rising, with a calmness I envied, he 
denied the truth of the deputy's assertions. The noise, 
however, still continued, and Mofla di Lisio, a Democratic 
member of Parliament, rose, and in a fine speech declared 
that any idea of treachery was out of the question. 
Listened to by all, he succeeded in gradually calming the 
agitation of the House. But this one sitting sufficed to 
confirm my resolution not to form part of a Cabinet 
exposed to the insults and varied opinions of members 
of Parliament Not that I am averse to a Constitutional 


government; on the contrary, I always upheld Liberal 
institutions ; but my character and my habits were not 
those of a politician, who, adapting himself to circumstances, 
can rebut false assertions with dignity and calmness. The 
habit of always talking the Piedmontese dialect rendered 
it difficult for me to speak Italian fluently, and I was 
naturally impatient and quick tempered. Brought up as 
a soldier, the sword was the only argument I understood. 
I was made to serve my country in the army, not in 
Parliament, and I hope I have done so conscientiously 
and well. 

The Chambers were prorogued on the 29th and dis- 
solved on the 30th; so, relieved from the nightmare of 
another sitting, I began to put the war office in order, 
and to reorganise the army. In my department all work 
had been suspended ; letters and despatches had been left 
unopened for weeks and even months. The military in- 
capacity and the negligence of the late ministers and their 
subordinates were but too patent ; there was no regularity 
in the administration, no steps had been taken for feeding 
or paying the soldiers, and the sum I found in the chest 
was barely sufficient for the expenses of one day. 

This was soon remedied by the finance minister. Nigra, 
who was able, thanks to his high personal credit on the 
principal foreign exchanges, to negotiate a loan on com- 
paratively easy terms. Twenty-four hours after I joined 
the ministry news of the disturbances in Genoa reached 
Turin. The troops, badly led by an old Genoese officer, 
had allowed the rebels to seize some of the forts, and it 
was imperative to act with energy and stifle a revolution 
which might compromise the whole kingdom. I offered 
to go at once, and the king accepted, when despatches 
arrived announcing that my brother, Casimir, had been 
killed at the head of his regiment by a shot from a 
window. Of course I withdrew my offer, as every punish- 


ment inflicted by me would have had the air of avenging 
my brother's death, and I proposed Alphonse La Marmora, 
who reduced the city to order in a few days. At the 
same tirrie-I was occupied in carrying out one of the 
stipulations of the armistice — the disbanding of the Lom- 
bard legion, wliiteh had been so miserably betrayed by 
Ramorino. Summoned to headquarters on the 20th 
March, to explain his disobedience to orders, he attempted 
to fly, but was arrested and taken to Turin to be tried 
by court-martial. General Fanti, his successor, was left 
entirely in the dark by Czarnowsky and tried in vain 
to send messengers to Mortara on the 21st and 22d 
March. At last, fearing the enemy might march on 
Alessandria, which had a very small garrison, he led his 
men thither. After the disaster of Novara, he received 
orders to leave for Tortona, and on the march the news 
that one of the conditions of the armistice was the dis- 
banding of the Lombard legion became known. The men 
were very indignant, as they feared being left to the 
tender mercy of the Austrians, and their discontent was 
fomented by agents sent by the Republicans of Genoa. A 
few tried to desert, but were stopped by General Fanti's 
influence, who, on arrival at Tortona on the 30th March, 
called his officers together, and explained the sad necessity 
the Sardinian government was under to disband the Lom- 
bard division. He suggested that for the Italian cause it 
would be more advantageous to remain united, and offer 
their services to the provisional governments of Rome or 
Tuscany. The idea was admirable, and served to tran- 
quillise the troops and keep the division together. Old 
Marshal La Tour accepted the task of presiding at the 
court-martial which tried Ramorino. The crime of high 
treason, suspected by many, could not be proved ; but his 
disobedience was flagrant, the punishment for which, by 
the military code, is death. As I have already said, he 


had received a written order from Czarnowsky, on the 17th 
March, to take up a strong position with the Lombard 
division at and round Cava, on the left bank of the Po. 
With the bulk of his troops he remained on the right bank, 
and thus facilitated the Austrian invasion of Piedmontese 
territory. The court-martial condemned him to death. 
He appealed against the sentence, and his old mother 
came to Turin to implore the king's pardon, who refused 
to receive her. Several ladies, more tender-hearted than 
patriotic, also attempted to approach the queen to beg her 
to intercede, but without success. The whole ministry 
were against granting any mitigation of the sentence, and 
on the 22d May Ramorino was shot on the Champs de 
Mars at Turin. He refused to be blindfolded, and met his 
death with courage. 

Besides the painful duty of disbanding the Lombard 
division, and sending out of Piedmont so many men who 
had fought with us for the liberation of Italy, I had to 
recall our fleet from Ancona to Genoa. Left to her own 
resources, it is a matter of history how gallantly Venice, 
under Daniel Manin, defended herself against the Austrian 
fleet and army. She only succumbed when sickness and 
a close investment by the enemy made resistance im- 

Meanwhile, negotiations for the peace, of which the 
armistice had been the prologue, were proceeding. 
Immediately after the abdication of his father, Victor 
Emanuel sent the minister Cadorna and Colonel Cossato 
to General Hess to treat for an armistice. General Hess, 
chief of the staff to Radetzky, showed himself as un- 
bending towards the young king's envoys as Radetzky 
had been to Charles Albert, and maintained certain con- 
ditions absolutely offensive to the Constitution, which 
Victor Emanuel was about to swear to uphold. They 
were returning to Momo, when they heard that Radetzky 


had asked and obtained an interview with Victor Emanuel. 
The meeting took place at Vignale, half way between the 
two headquarters. As already stated, the old marshal 
had accompanied the young archduchess, Maria Adelaide, 
to Turin in 1 842, on the occasion of her marriage to Victor 
Emanuel. He had been received with all honour by the 
Court, and had made the young prince's acquaintance. 
Setting aside, for the moment, the conditions under which 
they met, the marshal greeted Victor Emanuel with great 
cordiality, and begged to be allowed to embrace him. He 
expressed a sincere desire to conclude not only a treaty of 
peace, but a durable friendship between his own sovereign 
and the young king. For this reason he strongly advised 
Victor Emanuel to renounce the new form of Constitu- 
tional government, which might become a source of con- 
tinual disagreement between the Courts of Vienna and 
Turin. The young king's manner was most friendly and 
deferential towards the old marshal, but he resolutely 
declared his intention of preserving the Constitution, given 
to his people by Charles Albert, intact, as he considered 
a revocation would be an insult to his father. After this, 
Radetzky could not insist, and the conditions of the 
armistice remained as before. While it was in force we 
had to submit to the occupation of our territory, lying 
between the Po, the Sesia and the Ticino, by eighteen 
thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry. Half the 
garrison of the citadel of Alessandria was to consist of 
Austrian troops (Radetzky allowed it, however, to be 
understood that this clause would not be insisted upon 
unless difficulties arose about the ultimate treaty of peace). 
The Sardinian troops were to abandon the territory on 
the right bank of the Po, which before the war had not 
belonged to us. The king bound himself to disband the 
Lombard, Hungarian, and Polish legions, and to recall the 
troops stationed outside the confines of Piedmont for the 


defence of territory which was again to fall under Austrian 
rule. These hard conditions were signed by Victor 
Emanuel, who only stipulated a complete " amnesty for 
those Austrian subjects who had fought under the Italian 
flag. This was promised by the marshal. 

On this basis, negotiations for peace were begun at 
Milan, between the minister De Bruck for Austria, and 
Dabormida and Boncompagni for Piedmont. Our pleni- 
potentiaries were instructed to obtain some relief from 
the hard terms of the armistice ; but not only did they 
fail in their intent — new pretentions were raised, especially 
with regard to the indemnity for which De Bruck claimed 
220 millions. 

After futile endeavours to come to terms, our pleni- 
potentiaries were recalled to Turin, and negotiations were 
broken off. 

The Austrian troops, in observation round Alessandria, 
immediately entered the citadel and occupied one half, as 
had been established in the protocol of the armistice, not- 
withstanding the protest of our government that they 
refused to recognise those conditions during the pre- 
liminaries for peace, even at the risk of a new war. To 
tell the truth we were neither desirous nor prepared for 
fresh hostilities ; and the same was reported of the 

Meanwhile dissension broke out between De Launay 
and Pinelli, Minister of the Interior. Public opinion 
wrongfully accused De Launay of Conservatism, whilst he 
was a sincere Liberal. But he would not hear of allowing 
the Radicals, who wanted war at any price, to get the 
upper hand and ruin the country. The king and De 
Launay agreed to choose another president of the Council, 
and, I believe, Massimo D'Azeglio was suggested by De 
Launay himself D'Azeglio had no desire to enter the 
government, and still less to become president of the 


Council ; he made every sort of excuse, but at last saw, as 
I had done on the 27th March, that it was a patriotic duty. 
He entered the ministry on the 7th May, and his great 
popularity immediately made itself felt. In the beginning 
of June the negotiations of peace were reopened, after 
demanding the withdrawal of the Austrian troops from 
Alessandria, which was done in twenty-four hours. Count 
di Pralormo, who had been our plenipotentiary in Vienna 
for several years, was added to Boncompagni and 
Dabormida, and under his guidance things went better. 
De Bruck came down from 220 millions to 75, the 
amnesty of the Lombard-Venetians was published before 
peace was ratified, and in eight days the Austrian troops 
evacuated the kingdom of his Majesty the King of 

The majority of the nation was devoted to the royal 
family, but occupied themselves little with politics, and 
lacked the energy to insist on peace and tranquillity, 
compromised by the Radical party. On the 30th July the 
new Chambers opened with the same elements of opposi- 
tion as the last. The electors returned their former 
members, and Marquis Pareto, one of the instigators of 
the revolution at Genoa, was again elected president. 
No sooner did D'Azeglio announce that peace was about 
to be signed, and ask a vote for 75 millions, than violent 
uproar arose in the Opposition benches. The death of 
Charles Albert caused a momentary lull. On hearing how 
ill his father was, Victor Emanuel had sent Riberi, his own 
doctor, to Oporto, who remained there till the 28th July, 
when the king died. His death was only known in Turin 
on the 8th August, the day peace was ratified at Milan. 
The sittings of Parliament were suspended for a week, and 
when it met again the Opposition was more violent than 
before, and the vote for the payment of 75 millions only 
passed by a very small majority. These perpetual Par- 


liamentary struggles kept the country in a ferment, and 
were most damaging to all business and commerce. The 
odious insinuations of treachery in the army were again 
circulated, and the government was accused by the 
Radicals of seeking to destroy the new order of things by 
secret treaties. D'Azeglio was furious, but restrained 
himself, and kept a firm hand on the helm of the State. 
As to myself, I confess I was delighted when the day fixed 
between the king and myself came, and I handed over my 
portfolio to Bava. 

I quitted the ministry on the 7th September, and on 
the 1 2th I married the young Countess Irene Verasis 
di Castiglione, to whom I had been engaged for some 

The king had given his permission to our marriage, 
and asked me if the future Countess Delia Rocca would 
like to be named one of the ladies about the queen, whose 
Court was just being formed. Irene accepted, and it was 
settled that when we returned from our honeymoon I was 
to present her to their Majesties. 


END OF 1849- 1855. 

Life at Moncalieri — Parliament dissolved — New Chambers ratify Treaty with 
Austria — Marriage of Duke of Genoa — Enmity of Foreign Powers — Sir 
James Hudson — Stormy Debates on Ecclesiastical Matters — Cavour 
becomes Prime Minister — Death of Duke of Genoa. 

Victor Emanuel took up his residence at the castle 
of Moncalieri, whence he rode or drove every day to 
Turin. The Court was in mourning, not only for Charles 
Albert, but for the disasters which had befallen our country. 
All the rigid etiquette of the former reign was abolished 
by the young king ; Maria Adelaide, brought up in simple 
German fashion, disliking it as much as he did himself 
The grave and unbending widowed Queen Maria Theresa 
remained the only representative of the solemn Court of 
Charles Albert, as Maria Adelaide, always kind and ami- 
able, had insisted on her mother-in-law living with her. 
My wife had been named one of the ladies about the 
young queen, and her waiting began in December 1849; 
so the king allowed me to choose the same month for my 
duties as one of his four aides-de-camp. 

On our return from our honeymoon, in November, the 
political horizon was gloomy. Several of my colleagues 
were no longer in the ministry — Galvagno had taken the 
place of Pinelli, and was succeeded as Minister of Public 
Works by Paleocapa, a Venetian ; while Alphonse La 

Marmora was Minister of War and Marine, instead of 



Bava. The Chambers, restless and noisy, refused to listen 
to logic or reason. They clamoured for war at all hazards, 
without reflecting that quiet and order were necessary to 
.recoup our strength and reorganise the army. Fortun- 
ately, our ministers and diplomatists were patient and 
clever, and succeeded in obtaining large reductions from 
the first demands of Austria. Now it seems almost im- 
possible to realise how little Piedmont, vanquished, 
without allies, and unaided by any of the great powers, 
should have accomplished what she did. It was sheer 
folly not to see that everything that was possible had 
been done. The deputies demanded that new conditions, 
chiefly in favour of the emigrants, should be added to the 
treaty, and, by seventy votes against sixty-six, refused to 
sanction it. This was about the middle of November, and 
the king immediately dissolved Parliament, and appealed 
to the country for the second time. On the 20th, by the 
advice of the prime minister, d'Azeglio, he published the 
famous * Proclamation of Moncalieri.' 

The Parliament, which met in December, was better 
constituted, and Pinelli was elected president. In a few 
days the treaty of peace with Austria was ratified without 
a dissentient voice. The session was opened with a speech 
by the king, expressing his satisfaction, and he was heartily 
cheered in Piazza Castello on leaving the Chambers. The 
first debates were on ecclesiastical jurisdiction,^ a thorny 
subject, which provoked stormy discussions, and lasted for 
several years, during which Piedmont was at open war 
with the Holy See. Deplorable acts were committed on 
both sides ; when, for instance, the Roman Curia refused 
the sacrament to the dying minister Santa Rosa, because 
he voted for the abolition of ecclesiastical privileges, and 
when the government arrested the Archbishop of Turin, 

^ For abolishing the privileges and immunities enjoyed by ecclesiastics in 
legal questions. 


condemned to a month's imprisonment and finally exiled, 
for having publicly prohibited his clergy to obey any 
citation before a lay tribunal. 

In the spring of 1850 a marriage was arranged between 
the Duke of Genoa and the daughter of Prince John, 
brother and heir to King Frederick Augustus of Saxony. 
I was sent to Dresden by Victor Emanuel to ask the hand 
of the Princess Maria Elizabeth for his brother, and was 
accompanied by my cousin. Major di Cigala, one of the 
handsomest men in the army. Travelling post by way 
of Strasburg and Berlin, we reached Dresden in five days. 
I was most graciously received, first by the King of 
Saxony, then by Prince John, and finally by the Princess 
Maria Elizabeth, and the marriage was arranged to take 
place soon. 

Meanwhile I went to Prague to deliver a letter en- 
trusted to me by the Queen Maria Adelaide for the 
archduke, her brother, who commanded the garrison. 
Whilst there, I asked leave to pay my respects to the 
ex-Empress Marianne of Austria, one of the twin daughters 
of Victor Emanuel I., who married the Crown Prince 
Ferdinand in 1831. He became emperor four years 
later, and abdicated owing to epilepsy and madness in 
1848. The empress was most gracious, and addressed 
me in the Piedmontese dialect, asking after all the royal 
family. While talking to her near a window in the large 
saloon, a man, wrapped in a long mantle like a monk's 
cloak, crossed from one door to another. Divining that 
it must be the emperor, I was about to rise, when the 
empress laid her hand on my shoulder and said, ' Ca 
fassa finta d'nen,'^ and went on with her conversation. 
Soon afterwards she dismissed me, and I returned to 
Dresden to receive the Duke of Genoa and attend his 

^ ' Pretend not to see.' 


In December 1850 my daughter Nathalie was born, 
and the following spring I was made chief of the staff. 
It had rather lost ground in the last three years as 
many of the older officers had been placed on the retired 
list, and their places had not been filled by younger men. 
I presented a list to the minister of war, but La Marmora 
was too authoritative to admit that the chief of the staff 
should enjoy the position and privileges enjoyed hitherto, 
and I had some trouble in obtaining the nomination of 
six of the officers named in my list. They all turned out 
well, and did honour to the corps, so that, altogether,' the 
years 1851-1855 were among the happiest of my life. 
Victor Emanuel was always kind and gracious to me. 
Though residing at Moncalieri he often passed whole 
weeks at Turin, so that our daily intercourse was almost 

All the rigid etiquette introduced by Charles Albert 
had been abolished at the Court of Victor Emanuel. The 
sweet smile of the Queen Maria Adelaide, her kindly 
manner to all, her perfect temper, and the unaffected 
cheeriness of the king, rendered life at Moncalieri easy 
and pleasant, and allowed no scope for the usual intrigues 
and petty jealousies of a Court. 

The queen was very delicate and her health was visibly 
declining, but she preserved her beauty and angelic ex- 
pression. She was very religious, but without any ostenta- 
tion. Much of her time was passed in writing to her 
relations at Milan and Vienna, and she embroidered 
most beautifully in various coloured silks. Her con- 
versation was simple and ingenuous as a girl's ; highly 
educated, her modesty was so great that she seemed afraid 
of showing how much she knew. 

As there were four aides-de-camp, I was only on duty 
three months in the year, but I was often summoned to 
take the place of one or the other of my companions, who 


were not strong enough to follow Victor Emanuel in his 
shooting expeditions and excursions. I took no direct 
part in politics during these years, but seeing so much 
of the king I heard all that was going on. My cousin, 
Massimo D'Azeglio, showed great tact and energy, 
although the Radicals, furious at his thwarting their 
policy, accused him of being idle, too fond of his painting, 
and unfit for the cares of office. The position was a 
difficult one ; the European powers were against us, and 
gave us advice, which in fact was an expression of their 
disapprobation of our Constitutional institutions which, to 
them, were odious. England alone was friendly, and her 
representative, Sir James Hudson, who came to Turin 
about this time and remained until the kingdom of Italy 
was an accomplished fact, gave constant proofs of this. 
Republican France was hostile, although her president, 
Prince Louis Napoleon, was favourable. He had not 
forgotten that, with his brother, he had fought in 1831 for 
the independence of Italy ; but for the moment he was 
forced to dissemble. Victor Emanuel and D'Azeglio 
were astute enough to divine this, and to cultivate his 
friendly feelings by their cordiality at a time when he 
was regarded with suspicion by all the sovereigns of 
Europe. During a visit the president made to the Savoy 
frontier, the king sent an envoy to greet him with a very 
complimentary letter. I am almost certain that Napoleon's 
resolve to come to the aid of Piedmont dates from that 
interchange of letters and friendly messages. 

The coup detat which made Napoleon emperor took 
place on the 2d December 185 1, and the friendship be- 
tween the two sovereigns became firmly established. 

Our home affairs were not more satisfactory than our 
relations with foreign powers. The debates on ecclesi- 
astical immunities, civil marriage and the suppression of 
convents were stormy. They aroused the enmity of Rome 


and tormented the conscience of the king, who changed 
his ministers several times, though Massimo D'Azeglio 
held the presidency from 1849 till 1852. Victor Emanuel 
liked, esteemed and confided in D'Azeglio ; at that time 
he rather dreaded the audacity of Cavour, who was in 
bad odour at the Roman Curia. Though alien to the 
religious bigotry of the Bourbons, the king was a pro- 
fessed Catholic, and his mother and wife kept alive his 
sentiments of respect for the Church of the Holy See. 
He feared that if Cavour became prime minister, the Pope 
would turn completely against Piedmont and himself, and 
also that his minister might embroil him with Austria and 

After one of the many ministerial shufflings there was 
a warm discussion between the king and D'Azeglio, who 
declared his resolve to abandon political life. Victor 
Emanuel tried to form a Conservative Cabinet before 
summoning Cavour, but the attempt failed ; and as 
soon as the latter became prime minister he proposed 
Rattazzi, leader of the left centre, to the king as minister 
of the interior. A union between the right and the left 
centre had already been initiated by Cavour in the 
Chambers ; but the king, who then hardly knew Urbano 
Rattazzi, and was afraid lest his party might undermine the 
monarchy and join with the extreme Radicals, refused. 

Cavour now became arbiter of the destinies, not only 
of little Piedmont, but of all Italy. With marvellous 
ability he took advantage of the political emigration to 
Turin. From southern and central Italy, and from the 
Lombard-Venetian provinces, men came to Piedmont to 
enjoy the liberty, momentarily conceded by their own 
sovereigns only to be cruelly snatched away. The exiles 
were received with open arms ; nearly every house had 
one as a lodger. Cavour made their acquaintance — nearly 
all men of mark in science, literature and art — and helped 


them. Gradually a large number of Republicans, struck 
by the loyalty and good sense of the king and the extra- 
ordinary intelligence of his minister, were persuaded by 
him to join the party of Constitutional monarchy. He 
was already laying the foundation of an independent 
and strong Italian kingdom. 

The conduct of foreign affairs by Cavour had been 
so successful that, profiting by the condition of Europe, 
little Piedmont made a treaty with France and England 
for the defence of Turkey against the arrogance of Russia, 
on condition of furnishing a contingent of fifteen thou- 
sand men. 

The Duke of Genoa was destined to command the 
army, with Alphonse La Marmora as chief of the staff. 
But in the autumn of 1854 the duke fell seriously ill. It 
became evident that he could not embark for the Crimea, 
and that La Marmora, who had been minister of war for 
five years, would have to take the command. The pre- 
parations took several months, and the Duke of Genoa 
died before our little army started in the spring of 1855. 


Death of Queen Maria Theresa — Death of Queen Maria Adelaide and Her 
Child — Expedition to the Crimea — Victor Emanuel visits Paris and 
London — Napoleon advises Him to Marry again — I am sent to Dussel- 
dorf — Countess Castiglione's Jewels — Prescience of Cavour — Mazzini 
attempts to seize the Arsenal of Genoa — Sends Conspirators to Padula. J 

At the end of 1854 the queen, accompanied by her mother- 
in-law, came to Turin for her confinement. Maria Theresa, 
as I have already said, was extremely religious, and rarely 
left the palace, save to visit various churches. During one 
of these visits she caught cold and died of inflammation of 
the lungs on the 12th January. Her death was kept a 
secret from Maria Adelaide, who had just given birth to 
her seventh son. The child died almost immediately, and 
his mother on the 20th January, eight days after Maria 
Theresa. A few weeks later the Duke of Genoa, to whom 
the king was tenderly attached, breathed his last. As 
always happens in such cases, there were rumours of 
poison, while many talked of a divine punishment for the 
laws relating to the confiscation of church property and 
the suppression of convents, which were under discussion 
in Parliament. The death of the two queens was attri- 
buted, in great measure, to grief at the expected vote in 
favour of these measures, and it was affirmed that their 
last prayer to the king had been not to sanction them. 

My wife, who was in almost constant attendance on the 



Queen Maria Adelaide, and was present when she died, 
heard nothing of this. The queen was too weak to speak, 
and only now and then murmured a loving word to her 
husband while he held her hand. The king told me that 
during that time men of various parties left him no peace, 
attempting to influence him one way or the other. He 
did his utmost, while remaining staunch to the laws sanc- 
tioned by both Houses, to come to some understanding- 
with Rome. But when he saw that, to the proposals made 
in his name by the bishops of Chambery and Mondovi, 
Rome replied by threats of excommunication, he at once 
acceded to the wishes of the majority, and gave, his 
sanction to all that had been done. As a distraction from 
his family sorrows, he occupied himself with the prepara- 
tions for the Crimean war, and in the spring gradually 
resumed his active life. 

I must confess that public opinion was decidedly un- 
favourable to the Franco-Anglo alliance, and still more to 
the expedition to the Crimea. Count Cavour was hotly 
attacked, and the king was also blamed, as very few people 
understood the advantages which were ultimately to accrue 
to us from such a policy. Our part of the war resolved 
itself into the brilliant battle of the Tchernaja, which was 
to have considerable influence on the destinies of Italy. It 
demonstrated to Europe that France and England had 
sought the alliance of little Piedmont, that our army was 
well disciplined and brave, that our sovereign was coura- 
geous and ready to enter into any undertaking likely to 
serve, not only his own reputation, but the general interests 
of the Italian peninsula, and that his prime minister was 
a man of extraordinary ability, and surrounded by a bevy 
of clever men from all parts of Italy. This was the first 
link of the chain, forged by the skilful hands of Cavour, 
which was to rivet Piedmont to the rest of the peninsula ; 
the second was his taking his place among the represen- 


tatives of the great European powers at the Congress of 

Despite the intrigues of Austria, Cavour succeeded in 
obtaining a position in the Congress equal to that enjoyed 
by the other representatives, and he was thus enabled to 
put the Italian question officially before Europe. He took 
advantage of the admiration expressed by England of our 
troops to suggest that Queen Victoria should invite our 
king to pay her a visit, and arranged that at the same 
time he should also be the guest of Napoleon III. in Paris. 
Cavour foresaw the success that Victor Emanuel, so 
original in manner and character, would have abroad. 
The king was frank and expressive, nay, even familiar, 
but, at the same time, he was proud and fully aware of 
what was due to him as the representative of a princely 
family, dating from more than eight centuries. 

On 23d November the king arrived in Paris, accom- 
panied by Cavour and Massimo d'Azeglio, the leaders of 
the Liberal and the Conservative parties, and myself as first 
aide-de-camp. We were lodged in the Tuilleries, and the 
emperor, who had not long been married to the Countess 
of Montijo, gave a series of fetes in honour of Victor 

At the end of November we left for London. The 
railway was the property of the Baron James de Roth- 
schild, and he accompanied us to Calais. As soon as the 
train started Cavour and Rothschild retired into another 
compartment. Half an hour later the former returned 
rubbing his hands, an habitual trick of his when pleased, 
and with a jovial, sly smile on his face. * Well ? ' said the 
king, by whom Cavour had seated himself 'Everything 
is settled, your Majesty ; I am quite satisfied.' * And you. 
Baron?' continued Victor Emanuel to Rothschild, who 
had followed Cavour. ' I am also satisfied,' he replied ; 
* everything is in order.' * Then I must congratulate both 


of you,' said the king, shaking hands with them. During 
those few minutes Cavour had arranged the first loan, to 
be followed by many others, with the house of Rothschild. 
He never lost a moment ; walking, travelling, or eating, he 
accomplished some financial or political business. 

The reception accorded to the king in London was 
extraordinary. We traversed the town at foot's-pace, in 
the midst of a compact, loudly cheering crowd. This 
went on for two hours, so great was the distance between 
the station where we disembarked and the one where 
we entered the train for Windsor. 

The Prince Consort met the king at the foot of the 
stairs and accompanied him to the top, where he was met 
by the queen. Soon afterwards Prince Albert conducted 
Victor Emanuel to his apartments, where cigars of all 
sorts had been put into every room. The English, who 
were never seen with a cigar in their mouths, had heard 
the king smoked all day long, and the cigars had been 
provided as a kind of intimation that he was to make 
himself at home. 

From Windsor we went to London for two days, 
where we heard a speech from the Lord Mayor, com- 
plimenting the King of Sardinia, the ally, friend, and 
guest of England. Emanuel D'Azeglio, nephew of 
Massimo, had already translated it into Italian for the 
king's benefit, and Massimo had written a reply in French. 

Again the enthusiasm was tremendous, and the car- 
riages could only go at foot's-pace through the crowd, 
which waved handkerchiefs and shouted. Smiling gaily, 
the king said to me, 'You'll see how well I shall bear 
myself to-day and bow my acknowledgments properly at 
the pathetic passages.' In public Victor Emanuel never 
lost his self-control, and he played his part admirably in 
the great hall of the Mansion House. Listening to the 
speech of the Lord Mayor, as though he understood every 


allusion, he bowed his thanks with the greatest dignity ; 
then, handing me his cocked hat, replied in French, ac- 
centuating well, in a sonorous voice, and with a kingly 
air which elicited loud applause. 

Before leaving London the king was invested with the 
Order of the Garter. Warned that he must wear the 
special dress of the knights of the Order, a tailor was 
summoned and told to have it ready in twenty-four hours. 
The uniform was made, but fitted very ill, as I saw before 
and after the ceremony, for only the knights are allowed 
to be present at the investiture. 

We left England on the 5th December, and the 
emperor insisted on the king spending two days at the 
Tuilleries. He told me that Napoleon made particular 
inquiries about his family, and strongly counselled him 
to marry again. Similar advice had been given by the 
Queen of England, and the beautiful Princess of Cam- 
bridge had been vaguely mentioned. But Victor Emanuel, 
though he admired her exceedingly, could not make up 
his mind to the marriage, and Queen Victoria let the sub- 
ject drop. Napoleon, on the contrary, insisted, and pro- 
posed a princess of one of the oldest, but not the richest, 
families of Europe. Although the king had not the 
slightest intention of marrying a second time, he did not 
wish to offend his powerful ally, or give him reason to 
suspect that he had already married, or was about to 
marry, Rosina Vercellani morganatically. He knew it 
would have as bad an effect on Queen Victoria as on 
Napoleon, so he affected to entertain the idea, if he could 
be assured that the princess was handsome, intelligent, 
and amiable, as the Queen Maria Adelaide had been. 
The emperor then suggested that I should be sent to 
see her ; a mission not at all to my taste, but which I 
had to accept. So when the king left for Piedmont I 
went to Germany, without any letters of introduction, as 


the object of my journey was to be a secret. After two 
days of travelling I arrived in Dusseldorf, where I visited 
the churches, the public gardens and the theatres, without 
ever seeing Prince Hohenzollern Sigmaringen or his 
family. I began to despair, when the happy thought 
struck me of asking leave to visit the prince's stables. 
Whilst talking to the director the prince rode up in 
uniform and asked my name. One of his sisters had 
married Marquis Pepoli of Bologna, with whose family I 
was acquainted, so he invited me to dinner, and I was thus 
able to see the Princess Stephanie. She was only eighteen, 
and, though charming, was very shy and not likely to 
induce a sovereign who was averse to matrimony to 
change his mind. My mission, therefore, as I had fore- 
seen, was fruitless, and I returned to Turin in time to 
pass Christmas with my family. 

In March 1856 I was again in Paris with my wife and 
two little daughters, to consult the famous physician Blache 
about one of them. We saw the baptism of the Prince 
Imperial, and were invited to all the Court fetes at St 
Cloud and in Paris. Here we saw the beautiful Countess di 
Castiglione, whom we had known as a child in Piedmont. 
It was the beginning of her great favour with the emperor, 
which lasted six or seven years, and aroused the jealousy 
of the empress. The richness and daring originality of 
her toilettes were celebrated. At a fancy dress ball at the 
Tuilleries the lovely countess appeared as Queen of Hearts, 
in a very transparent dress open on one side up to her 
hip, and displaying her magnificent figure clothed in 
scarlet silk 'tights.' Round her neck was a gold chain, 
from which hearts, encrusted with precious stones, were 
suspended, and a large heart hung from her girdle in 
front. Court gossips said that the empress exclaimed, 
* Quels beaux bijoux^ mats le coeur est place bien bas ! ' 

The Congress for the peace with Russia was then 


sitting in Paris, and the successes of Cavour, his wonder- 
ful cleverness, and his eminent qualities as a statesman, 
were themes of general conversation. I felt proud to see 
the admiration my compatriot excited, and was disagree- 
ably surprised when, on my return to Turin, the king told 
me it was rumoured that I had been sent by him on a 
kind of secret mission to report on the acts of Cavour 
and the impression they made on the Tuilleries and else- 
where. These reports reached Cavour, who showed his 
displeasure to the king. He imagined that I had great 
influence with Victor Emanuel, an opinion shared by 
many others, and which was the cause of considerable 
mischief to me in after years. The truth is that the king 
was always extremely kind to me, and treated me, if I may 
use the term, as a sort of elder brother-at-arms, who could 
advise him in matters of private life, and to whom he 
could talk about political concerns, without however per- 
mitting any discussion on his duties as a Constitutional 
sovereign. He had a keen perception of those about him ; 
some he both liked and esteemed, but not all. Several of 
the men whose character and intelligence he admired were 
personally distasteful to him, yet he called them several 
times to power, sacrificing his likes and dislikes to the good 
of his country and the Italian cause, which was his one 
object in life, and in which he always believed when others 
had lost heart. 

The same party in Piedmont which disapproved of the 
Crimean expedition could not seize the importance of the 
success obtained by Cavour at the Congress of Paris in 
1856, or the impulse he had given to Italian affairs. Many 
Turinese grumbled that nothing had been stipulated for 
Piedmont, who gained no material advantages from the 
alliance and the war. But the Milanese, the Venetians 
and the Liberals of the divers Italian provinces were more 
clear-sighted, and the aspirations of 1848 again made them- 


selves heard. The king Galantuomo and his incomparable 
minister were overwhelmed with thanks, encouragement 
and prayers. I think I am correct in saying that the 
designs and expectations of Cavour increased so largely 
towards the end of 1856 and during 1857 that he foresaw 
possibilities he had not dared to calculate on. By the 
help of several Lombards, of various Sicilians led by 
Farina, and of the more remarkable members of the Centre, 
he began to weave the net which was to enfold all the 
children of Italy, and realise his ideal of seeing all the 
independent provinces united into one country. 

On 4th July 1857 I became lieutenant-general by 
seniority, which confirmed me in the position of first aide- 
de-camp and one of the chief officers of the Court, so that 
I was more than ever about the king. 

There were violent debates in the Chambers about 
transferring the naval station from Genoa to Spezia. The 
latter port was preferable in case of a war, which seemed 
probable, as Austria was playing the same game she had 
done ten years before. The Genoese were less annoyed 
than had been feared by the passing of the law. Since 
the question of Italian independence had been raised they 
understood that Piedmont was the only possible champion. 
Mazzini, however, thought otherwise. Desirous of effacing 
the memory of the failure of his enterprise in southern 
Italy, he was planning fresh revolts on the Neapolitan 
coast and in central Italy. For some months he had 
been moving between Leghorn, Spezia and Genoa with 
some of his followers charged to collect men and arms. 
Counting on the ill-humour of his Genoese compatriots 
he determined to try and seize the naval arsenal and the 
artillery depot, and capture a frigate that lay at anchor in 
the port of Genoa. A warning had reached Rattazzi, the 
minister of the interior, but he did not believe the con- 
spiracy was serious, and his information as to Mazzini's 


movements was defective. The French police, however, 
discovered the plot, and revealed it to our government, 
who immediately reinforced the garrisons of the places 
menaced by the Mazzinians ; the result was their precipi- 
tate retreat, with the exception of a small detachment in 
the fort Diamante, who were not warned in time. During 
the night they fell upon the small garrison, killed the 
sergeant and took the men prisoners. There was some agi- 
tation next morning in the city, but rather in favour of the 
government than of Mazzini. Seeing the unfavourable turn 
of events, he took his departure ; but, before leaving, arranged 
one of those foolhardy enterprises which only served to 
increase the number of victims to the Italian cause, or, as 
some said, to keep the idea of union alive in the peninsula. 
Misled by reports from some of his emissaries, who 
assured him that on the Neapolitan coast, at Padula and 
at Sapri, thousands of men only awaited his orders to rise, 
he persuaded Pisacane and Nicotera, with a merchant 
captain and some volunteers, to embark as passengers on 
board the Cagliariy a Sardinian vessel trading between 
Genoa and Tunis. On the high seas they made the 
Sardinian captain prisoner, put their man in his place, 
forced the sailors and the two engineers, who were 
Englishmen, to obey him, and sailed for the coast. Not 
a man met them at the appointed places, but at Ponza 
they succeeded in liberating and enrolling three hundred 
prisoners. At Padula they were met by a battalion of 
Neapolitan troops and utterly beaten ; Pisacane was killed, 
Nicotera wounded and arrested. The captain of the 
Cagliari left the conspirators on shore and started for 
Tunis ; but the ship was captured in the name of Ferdinand 
II. and taken to Naples. Our government protested in 
vain, until at last England insisted on the release of her 
subjects the two engineers, the restitution of the vessel to 
Sardinia, and the payment of an indemnity. 


1858. BEGINNING OF 1859 

Orsini attempts Life of Napoleon III. — I am sent as Ambassador Extra- 
ordinary to Paris — Anger of the Emperor — Victor Emanuel's Letter — 
Princess Mathilde at the Tuilleries Ball — Napoleon promises His Aid 
against Austria — The Treaty of Plombieres — Am named Head of the 
General Staff — Declaration of War — French Troops arrive in Piedmont 
— Incapacity of Giulay — Garibaldi takes Command of Volunteers — 
Victor Emanuel receives Tuscan Deputation. 

In January 1858 all Europe, and Piedmont in particular, 
was startled by the attempted assassination of Napoleon III. 
by Felice Orsini. The emperor wrote to the sovereigns 
of Europe, requesting them to take severe precautionary 
measures against the Republican and Radical Italian emi- 
grants and exiles who had taken refuge in their several 
states. Many of them sent special ambassadors to Paris to 
compliment Napoleon on having escaped unhurt, and Victor 
Emanuel, in concert with Cavour, confided this difficult 
mission to me. Our government especially had fallen under 
the displeasure of the emperor on account of the number 
of exiles from the various Italian states who had taken 
refuge with us. I arrived in Paris with my aide-de-camp 
and secretary. Count Charles di Robilant, captain of 
artillery and an intimate friend of ours, at the end of 
January. At an official audience I delivered to the 
emperor an autograph letter from the king, informing 
his bon frere that his ambassador extraordinary was 
charged to give the fullest explanations on all matters 
connected with the circular and subsequent notes sent by 
the Imperial to the Sardinian Government. 



Several days passed without our receiving any invita- 
tion to the Tuilleries, and I became anxious. Unaccus- 
tomed to the tortuous ways of diplomacy, I knew not 
whether to ask for another audience or to await the 
pleasure of the emperor. Both the king and Cavour 
were anxiously waiting to hear the result of the private 
audience which they expected would follow immediately 
on the delivery of the letter. From the Marquis of 
Villamarina, our minister plenipotentiary at Paris, I heard 
that, after the attempt on his life, the emperor had ex- 
pressed great anger against the Sardinian Government, 
exclaiming, ' Piedmont is a nest of revolutionists and 
assassins. Orsini has stayed there several times, and 
Mazzini is continually in the country, without the police 
taking any notice.' These words, and the delay in grant- 
ing me an audience, seemed to augur badly, especially 
as the Prince of Liechtenstein, Austrian ambassador 
extraordinary, who arrived in Paris after us, was said to 
have been very well received at Court. At last in the 
beginning of February came an invitation to dine at 
the Tuilleries, with a letter from the minister of the house- 
hold, intimating that his H.I.M. the Emperor would see 
me in private the same evening. After dinner Napoleon 
took me into his study, and said the tone of the king's 
letter was very friendly, and that he intended to reply at 
some length. Then he paused, and I thought I might 
venture to draw his attention to several matters I had 
been instructed to submit to him. But seeing that he 
wished to formulate his accusations before I could attempt 
any defence, I stopped short. Requesting me to listen 
attentively, as he wished his precise words to be reported 
to the king, he began with vehement, I may say unjust, 
charges against our government. He complained especi- 
ally of a newspaper, La Ragione^ and of the judges who, 
after trying the editor for abusing monarchical governments 


and publishing something very like an apology for political 
assassination, had absolved him. Such acts, continued the 
Emperor, were calculated to cool the friendly relations 
hitherto subsisting between his government and Piedmont, 
and showed that our ministry, particularly Count Cavour, 
was in league with the extreme left. Our laws, he added, 
were quite inadequate to cope with the disorder born of 
political assassination, or with the disgraceful press which 
glorified such deeds. Recalling our alliance with him 
and with England in 1855, he impressed upon me how 
little we had to hope from the latter power, while all our 
interests lay in a close alliance with him. For this it was 
absolutely necessary that those emigrants, who consti- 
tuted a perpetual source of danger to ourselves and to 
him, should be banished from Piedmont. He said that, 
owing to his complaints, Geneva, till now a refuge for 
assassins, had expelled a large number of exiles who 
had gone to Savoy, where the police not only failed to 
denounce them, but allowed demonstrations of welcome 
in their honour. From the provinces, from public bodies, 
and from the army, Napoleon stated that he had received 
addresses expressing the utmost horror of the attempted 
assassination by Orsini, and that the army was ready to 
inarch against any place known to be a refuge for assassins. 

The threat contained in the last few words was menacing. 
To conceal the impression made upon me, I again tried to 
persuade the emperor that the accusations against our 
government were unfounded, and assured him of our 
unceasing endeavours to restrain revolutionary tendencies 
and repress disorder. He listened courteously, but re- 
tracted nothing, and again requested that his exact words 
should be reported in writing to the king. Reluctantly I 
had to obey, and the same night our courier took my 
letter to Turin. 

The emperor had been as courteous towards myself 



as he had been harsh towards my government; when 
I took leave he told me to come to the Tuilleries any 
morning between nine and ten, when he was generally at 
liberty. So, before the courier returned, I saw him several 
times, and, according to my instructions, attempted to lay 
the condition of Piedmont since 1849 before him. From 
observations and questions addressed to me at the 
Tuilleries and in Paris salons, I saw that Piedmonlese 
affairs were utterly unknown in France. We were regarded 
as more or less revolutionary, and accused of giving refuge 
to exiles and political criminals. I told the emperor that 
the first years of Victor Emanuel's reign had not been 
easy ; but now, thanks to his loyalty, the prudence and 
firmness of D'Azeglio, and the clear-sighted policy and 
powerful genius of Cavour, he had gained the confidence 
and love of his people. Social revolution would not break 
out in Piedmont, but was imminent in other Italian pro- 
vinces, especially in those ruled by Austria. The only 
way to prevent this, and pacify those who were appealing 
to us for help, would be the intervention of a great power 
in favour of Italian independence. With regard to Mazzini, 
I assured him that we knew his influence was on the 
decline, owing to his foolhardy enterprises, which only 
served to augment the number of martyrs to the Italian 
cause ; and I gave the true version of the affair of the 
Cagliariy which had been misrepresented in France. 

By the time the courier returned with answers to my 
letters, I saw the emperor was better disposed towards 
us ; so I ventured to obey the orders contained in one of 
the letters of Victor Emanuel — to commit the imprudence 
of reading the other aloud to the emperor by motu proprio, 
as it were. Napoleon listened attentively, smiled at some 
passages, and expressed his admiration of the proud 
dignity of the concluding words, '- Uapres ce que je viens 
de vous dire, w,on cher La Rocca^ Vempereur doit etre bien 


persuade de mes bonnes intentions ^ et voir que les faits ont 
ete executes meme avant qi£il les eut demandes. S'il voulait 
que fuse de violence ici^ qtHil sache que je perdrais toute ma 
force, et lui toutes les sympathies d^une genereuse et noble 
nation. ... Si les paroles^ que vous me transmettez, sont les 
paroles textuelles de re7npereur^ dites lui dans les termes que 
vous croirez les mielletirs, qu'on ne traite pas ainsi unfidele 
alli^y que fe n^ai famais souffert de violences de personne, que 
fe suis la voie de Vhonneur toufours sans tache et que de cet 
honneurfe rHen reponds qtCa Dieu et a m,on peuple ; qu^il y a 
huit cent cinquante ans que nous portons la tete haute^ et 
que personne ne m,e la f era baisser^ et avec tout celd, que fe 
ne desire autre chose que detre son ami^ 

* Voila ce qui s'appelle avoir du courage^ exclaimed the 
emperor. ' Votre roi est un brave jfaime sa r^ponse! He 
continued talking about the king, and repeated several 
times, ^ fe suis stir que nous nous entendrons,' and then told 
me to write immediately to reassure Victor Emanuel, and 
say he was sorry to have caused him any uneasiness, and 
that his opinions with regard to Piedmont were modified. 
In another audience I touched upon a reported scheme of 
alliance between France and Austria, and the emperor 
replied, ' I love Italy, and shall never ally myself with 
Austria against her. Had I occupied the place I now 
fill in 1849 I should certainly have gone to the aid of 
Charles Albert' 

At a great review the emperor beckoned me to his 
side, pointing out one regiment after another as they 
marched past. The same evening a paper was sent me 
through the post, with a notice of the review, saying that 
the emperor had conversed with the Austrian and English 
ambassadors, but only said a few words to the King of 
Sardinia's envoy, * Car id les Piemontais ne sont pas aimh^ 
At the Tuilleries ball that night the empress stopped to 
inquire about the king and his children, and , asked after 


my wife. Immediately after her came Princess Mathilde, 
sister of Prince Jerome Bonaparte, one of the few persons 
then in France who liked the Italians, and who was 
supposed to enjoy the full confidence of the emperor. 
^ Dites moiy Monsieur Delia Rocca^ she exclaimed, in her 
clear, high voice, * avez vous vu le journal de ce soir ? Ces 
gens la ont bien raison de dire que nous ne vous aimons paSy 
car^ . . . pausing a moment, ^nous vous adoronsl she 
continued, laughing, and glancing archly at me. The 
Prince of Liechtenstein was - standing close by, and his 
yellow face turned green at these words. 

A few days later I received letters from Turin. Cavour 
wrote : — ^ Je te felicite sincerement de tes debuts dans la 
carriere diplomatique. Plac^ dans une position extrhnement 
difficile, tu as su fen tirer avec une rare habilet^ et un tact 
parfait. Le roi a /// tres satisfait de ce que tu as dit et de 
ce que tu as fait. Je pense quil te F^crira lui mime ' . . . 
and the king added, ^ Je vous embrasse et je vous remercie 
de tout mon coeur ; vous 7fj!avez rendu un grand service, et 
vous vous ites tire daffaire dune maniere fnerveilleuse, 
mieux quun diploinate! . . . 

At my last audience, on the 20th February, the 
emperor declared himself perfectly satisfied with all I 
had told him in the name of Victor Emanuel and of 
Cavour, and with my explanations about the condition of 
Piedmont. He authorised me to tell the king con- 
fidentially that in case of a war between Piedmont and 
Austria he would come with a large force to fight side by 
side with his faithful ally Victor Emanuel. * Dites aussi' 
he added, ' a M. de Cavour , qu'il se m,ette en correspondance 
directe avec moi, et que nous nous entendrons certainement.' 

It was a fortunate coincidence that, just as the emperor 
was beginning to mollify towards us, Pietri, the prefect of 
police, gave him a letter from Orsini, written in prison, 
containing almost the same words I had spoken — that the 


Italians were resolved to bear a foreign yoke no longer. 
* I conjure your Imperial Majesty/ continued Orsini, ' to 
bestow on Italy the independence her sons wanted in 1848 
and 1849. B^ assured that until they have it there will be 
no tranquillity for Europe, or for your Imperial Majesty. 
Deign to listen to the last request of a patriot on the steps 
of the scaffold — free my country, and the benedictions of 
twenty-five million people will follow you to posterity. 

On arriving at Turin I hastened to inform the king 
and Cavour of the formal promise, to come to the aid 
of Piedmont in case of war with Austria, given by the 
emperor at my last audience. I saw that Napoleon had 
some other idea with respect to an alliance with us, and 
hinted as much to the king. To Cavour I spoke more 
plainly, and he rubbed his hands, and smiled rather 
sardonically with an air of superior knowledge.^ 

It is a matter of history that, immediately after the 
meeting of the emperor and Cavour at Plombieres in 1858, 
war was talked of as imminent. The propaganda of the 
Italian cause in the provinces redoubled in zeal, aided by 
the National Society of Central Italy, under La Farina, 
who worked with Cavour. After the reception at the 
Tuilleries for the New Year, when the emperor said to 
Hubner, Austrian ambassador at Paris, * I regret that our 
relations with your government are not as cordial as they 
were,' and Victor Emanuel's speech on the lOth January 
1859, at the opening of Parliament, the agitation increased. 
Austria sent reinforcements to her Italian army, and war, 
unpopular in France, but hailed with joy by the Italians, 
was considered inevitable. Our finance minister, Lanza, 
asked for a loan of fifty millions, troops were summoned 
from the more distant garrisons, and in March all our 
reserves were called under arms. 

^ The marriage of Princess Clotilde, daughter of Victor Emanuel, and the 
cession of Nice and Savoy, were probably in the thoughts of both. 


France armed slowly. Public opinion was generally 
hostile, and politicians, aware of Napoleon's predilection 
for the country which had given birth to his forebears, 
declared the war was a sentimental one and injurious to 
France, who could reap no advantage. They were ignorant 
of the treaty at Plombieres, which gave her two rich 
provinces. We, on the contrary, pushed forward our 
armaments with all speed. By the middle of April an 
army of five divisions, each consisting of from twelve 
thousand to fifteen thousand men, was ready. Victor 
Emanuel was commander-in-chief, and he named me head 
of the staff; La Marmora accompanied the king as minister 
in attendance. Volunteers from Lombardy, Venetia, 
Parma, the Roman States and Tuscany, flocked to join us 
on the first rumour of war, and were placed under the 
command of General Garibaldi. Two thousand Tuscan 
regular soldiers also assembled under General Ulloa, but 
they only arrived when all was over — after San Martino 
and Solferino. 

La Marmora (minister of war), thinking the enemy 
would march straight for Turin, ordered the right bank of 
the Dora Baltea to be fortified, and retained the command 
of the troops destined to defend the capital for himself. 
These preparations alarmed everyone, and there was a 
general exodus. The entrenchments were hardly finished 
when Marshal Canrobert, who was to command one of the 
French army corps, and General Froissart, head of the 
engineers, arrived in Turin to concert matters with the 
king and the minister of war. They were invited by the 
king to visit the line of fortifications, and the minister of 
war, the chief of the staff, and the heads of the engineers 
and artillery (La Marmora, Delia Rocca, Menebrea and 
Pastore) were asked to meet them. Canrobert immediately 
declared himself against the defence of Turin from that 
side, but courteously praised the way the work had been 


carried out under La Marmora's supervision. Froissart, 
on the contrary, roughly — almost aggressively — criticised 
everything. We were rather hurt, but managed to conceal 
our feelings, all except Cialdini, aide-de-camp in attendance 
on the king, who was very hot-tempered. He contradicted 
Froissart so wittily, and with such knowledge of military 
matters, that we began to fear war might be declared 
between France and Piedmont instead of between Pied- 
mont and Austria. With some difficulty Menebrea and I 
contrived to change the conversation. 

On the 23d April Baron von Kellersberg brought a 
letter from the Austrian minister, Buol, inviting Count 
Cavour to reply within three days whether the government 
of the King of Sardinia would place his army on a peace 
footing and dismiss the volunteers or not. On the 26th 
Cavour gave the Austrian envoy a negative reply ; the 
king having issued a proclamation on the 24th, calling his 
troops to arms and announcing the imminent arrival of a 
large French army, commanded by the emperor. 

On the 28th April Francis Joseph announced to his 
people that the Austrian army had been ordered to cross 
the Piedmontese frontier, and next day the regiment of 
hussars, King of Prussia, met our light cavalry near 
Zinasco, and the advanced guard crossed the Ticino at 
Beregnardo by a military bridge. On the 30th April the 
strategical development of the Austrian army was accom- 
plished behind the Terdoppio, and on the same day the 
first French troops entered Turin. 

Larmee d'ltalie^ as it was called, consisted of about 
one hundred and twenty thousand men in five army corps, 
four of twenty thousand men, one of twelve thousand, and 
fifteen thousand men of the Imperial Guard under General 
Regnault de Saint-Jean d'Ang^ly. The first corps was 
commanded by Marshal Baraguay d'Hilliers, the second 
by General MacMahon, the third by Marshal Canrobert, 


the fourth by General Niel, and the fifth by Prince Jerome 

The Austrians were said to be over two hundred 
thousand men ; but in the first battles they could only 
muster one hundred and twenty thousand, divided into 
five army corps ; the rest formed the garrisons of the 
fortresses in Lombardy, Venetia, Mantua, Verona, Peschiera, 
etc. The commanders were Prince Liechtenstein, Count 
Schwartzenberg, Count Stadion, Baron Nobel, and Von 
Benedek. The division of reserve cavalry was under 
Baron Mensdorf, and a division of independent infantry 
under Urban. Field-marshal Count Giulay was comman- 
der-in-chief, with Count Valmoden a latere ; the emperor's 
chief of the staff was Baron Hess, Count Giulay's Baron 

By the loth May all the French troops had arrived 
in Piedmont ; the ist and 2d army corps and the 
Imperial Guard disembarked at Genova, and marched by 
Novi on Alessandria ; the 3d and 4th came over the Mont 
Cenis and Monginevra; the 5th disembarked at Leghorn 
for Florence, and, crossing the Apennines, did not join the 
army till after Solferino. The first four corps took up 
their positions with us between S. Salvatore and Casale. 

The king left Turin on the 30th April and established 
his headquarters at S. Salvatore, near Casale, when my 
hard work and responsibility as chief of the staff began. 
La Marmora had sent twenty thousand men to occupy 
the triangle between Alessandria, Casale and Bassignana 
on the right bank of the Po, as soon as Kellersberg left 
Turin. His orders had been given without consulting the 
commander-in-chief, and still less the chief of the staff. 
When the king and I visited the troops we saw how 
hazardous their position was, opposed to an enemy more 
than four times as strong on the Sesia and the left bank 
of the Po, occupying the positions of Vercelh*, Novara, 


Vigevano, etc. Giulay, leaving a corps in observation 
before Casale and Valenza, might easily have crossed the 
Po, attacked us on the right bank, and, placing himself 
between Alessandria and Genoa, have arrested the French 
as they descended from Novi towards Alessandria. Had 
Giulay known his numerical superiority, and been capable 
of using it, he might have prevented the junction of the 
two armies. 

It was fortunate for us that the enemy, far superior in 
number, was led by an irresolute and hesitating com- 
mander. We stood opposite him for nearly twenty days, 
during which time he made no serious move, and only 
attempted small attacks on our outposts, which were 
invariably repulsed. When, in after years, it was pro- 
posed to raise a monument to Victor Emanuel in memory 
of the campaign of 1859, he used to say, 'The monument 
should not be dedicated to me, but to Giulay, for having 
been so good as to spare us until the arrival of the French.' 

One of my first acts was to recall Cialdini and his 
division from his position on the Dora Baltea, and establish 
his headquarters at Casale near us. On the 3d and 4th 
May he frustrated the enemy's attempts to cross the Po at 
Frassineto, and forced them to abandon the positions of 
Balzole, Villanova and Terranova. On the 9th and loth 
the Austrians advanced towards Trino and Crescentino, 
thus approaching nearer Turin. I sent Castelborgo to 
attack their left flank during the march, but before he 
could deploy his troops, the enemy, to our surprise, re- 
treated and retired across the Sesia. 

We spent ten days at S. Salvatore, where Garibaldi, in 
his new uniform of general of brigade, came to see the 
king. Victor Emanuel sent him to Ivrea to take command 
of the volunteers, ordering him to cross the Ticino at 
Sesto Calende and advance on Varese, where there was a 
strong Austrian force. The terror and disorder into which 


he threw the right flank of the enemy is a matter of 
history. On the nth May we left S. Salvatore for Occi- 
miana, where Victor Emanuel received Don Neri Corsini, 
sent by the provisional government of Tuscany to entreat 
him to accept the sovereignty of the Grand Duchy. The 
king's reception was extremely cordial, but he would give 
no promise. This was the first of the many offers which 
reached the Re Galantuomo (Honest King) from the various 
provinces of central Italy. 



Arrival of Napoleon — Montebello — Concentration of Allied Armies — Gari- 
baldi's Victories — Palestro — Victor Emanuel and the Zouaves — Retreat 
of the Austrians — Magenta — Victor Emanuel accepts Sovereignty 
of Lombardy — I follow Urban, but am stopped by Desvaux. 

On the 12th May Napoleon III. disembarked at Genoa, 
and on the 14th established his headquarters at Ales- 
sandria, assuming the supreme command of the allied 
armies. My work was then doubled. I was perpetually 
.summoned from Occimiano, where the king had his head- 
quarters, by the emperor or by General Vaillant, his head 
of the staff, to give information about the roads and the 
means of communication ; so to my other duties was 
added that of courier and Maireur to the French head- 
quarters. I had to think, not only of my own sixty 
thousand men, but of the whole allied army. 

The emperor immediately grasped the incapacity of 
the Austrian commander-in-chief, who, for nearly three 
weeks, had kept one hundred and twenty thousand men in 
line without attacking the opposing force of between 
twenty-five and thirty thousand. Giulay had made up 
his mind that the first battle was to be fought in the great 
plain of the valley of the Po, and kept his army stationary 
between Casale and Mortara, and Mortara and Novara, in 
order to defend Milan from that side. Napoleon resolved 



to draw the enemy in another direction, and made a feint 
to enter Lombardy by way of Piacenza, where he sent a 
considerable body of troops and part of his camp equipage. 
The battle of Montebello was the consequence of this 
move, and Giulay was for some days in doubt as to the 
real intention of the emperor, which was a counter-march 
towards the Ticino. The idea was a bold one. It neces- 
sitated crossing the enemy's front, and marching round 
his flank. Falling back from Alessandria towards Casale, 
and advancing on Vercelli and Novara, the French troops, 
describing a semi-circle, were to cross the Ticino at the 
most undefended point and march on Milan. This was 
to be done as quickly as possible, while the Austrians, 
misled by the movement towards Piacenza, were on the 
right bank of the Po. The Piedmontese were to cross the 
Sesia, and station themselves in the centre of the semi- 
circle on the road between Mortaraand Palestro, to protect 
the French advance from Casale on Vercelli. This plan 
resulted in the two splendid days of Palestro, and in the 
battle of Magenta on the opposite side of the Ticino. 

On the 20th May, the day on which our cavalry fought 
so well at Montebello, the king transferred his headquarters 
to Casale. The Austrians, after some days of inactivity, 
at length prepared to cross the Sesia nearly opposite 
Terranova, a position occupied by General Fanti's division. 
Victor Emanuel had ordered a bridge to be thrown across 
an arm of the river to a small island, whence the passage 
of the enemy could be observed. They did not attempt to 
molest our engineers, but two sharp skirmishes took place 
near by. 

On the evening of the 23d there was a continuous 
interchange of telegrams between Alessandria and Casale. 
Napoleon, badly informed, announced a gathering of the 
Austrian's in force near Voghera, and he feared an attack 
on the small body of French troops sent on the feint 


towards Piacenza. He begged the king not to divide his 
forces, to recall Cialdini, who was already on the other side 
of Vercelli, and to send reinforcements towards Voghera. 
After I returned from Terranova to Casale, having exe- 
cuted the emperor's wishes, a telegram with counter orders 
came in. Napoleon having received more correct infor- 
mation, notwithstanding the official bulletin, announced his 
departure for Voghera. The news was false, but served 
its purpose ; as the enemy, after vainly trying to take the 
islet, which had been well fortified, and was defended by 
General Mollard's brigade, disappeared from the banks 
of the Sesia, and hurried to prevent the advance of the 
French towards Voghera. 

On hearing this, the emperor resumed his plan of a 
counter-march, which he had hesitated to carry out owing 
to various false alarms. Late on the 26th he wrote to 
Victor Emanuel, and next morning we rode over so early 
to Alessandria that Napoleon was still in bed. The con- 
centration — crossing from the right to the left bank of 
the Po — of both armies began that evening, with the 
happiest results for us. 

The positions held by the allies on the 27th May were 
as follows — Marshal Baraguay d'Hilliers and General 
MacMahon were at Voghera, Casci, Castelnuova di Scrivia 
and Sale, on the right bank of the Po ; Marshal Canrobert 
was at Ponte Curone ; General Niel at Bassignana and 
Valenza; the Imperial Guard at Alessandria. Our divi- 
sions Fanti, Durando, and Cialdini occupied Motta de' 
Conti, Caresana, Pezzana, Prarolo, and Vercelli, on the 
right bank of the Sesia ; Castelborgo's division was half 
at Casale, half at Terranova ; and Cuchiari held the right 
bank of the Po, from Monti to Frassineto, with his division. 

The first corps to leave Alessandria was Canrobert's, 
in whose staff was General Trochu, whom I had often 
seen at Paris, at the house of our mutual friend Alexander 


Bixio. Canrobert was exactly what the French call un bon 
enfant^ and had none of the pride and conceit of other 
French marshals, particularly apparent in those who 
showed least ability in the campaign of 1859. His divi- 
sions always arrived in time and in good order. From 
Alessandria he went to Casale, and thence to Prarolo, 
where he halted to construct bridges of boats across the 
Po, opposite Palestro, for the passage of the Imperial 
Guard and the troops of Niel and Baraguay d'Hilliers, 
who were to push forward to Ortengo. 

Our divisions Fanti, Durando and Castelborgo marched 
towards Vercelli on the night of the 28th, to take up their 
respective positions; Fanti at Confienza, Durando at 
Vinzaglio, Castelborgo at Casalino. Cialdini recrossed to 
the left bank of the river, and on the 29th occupied 
Porrione, not far from Palestro. The division Cucchiari, 
as I have already said, was left at Frassineto to guard 
the Po. On the same day Victor Emanuel, w^ho was 
delayed a whole day by the block on the railway, left 
Casale for Vercelli. He traversed the French camp on 
horseback, and was cheered to the echo by the officers 
and troops. The soldiers crowded round to see him, 
and Cler, the brave and beloved general who lost his 
life a few days later at Magenta, addressed the king 
in words expressive of admiration and praise. At 
Vercelli, which we entered about mid-day, the popula- 
tion received Victor Emanuel with acclamation. He dis- 
mounted at the palace of Count La Motta, and soon 
afterwards came despatches announcing the victories of 
Garibaldi, who had driven the cruel and hated General 
Urban out of the province of Comasco. On reaching 
Vercelli I went to inspect a bridge which our engineers 
had been ordered to make ; to my surprise, I found it 
was hardly begun, because the French had insisted on 
doing the work, and being unacquainted with the country, 


they did not know where to get materials. I had rather 
an altercation with Froissart, who would not understand 
that to gain time it was better to leave the execution of 
such things to us. Of all the French generals he was 
the most difficult to get on with. 

At daybreak on the 30th I rode over to inspect the 
positions of Confienza, where my brother Robert was 
stationed with his brigade Pinerolo. On my return I 
found the king on the railway bridge watching our troops 
march past and Canrobert throwing bridges over the river, 
nearly opposite Palestro, on which our right wing was 
advancing. About eleven a cannonade announced that 
the battle had commenced, and we galloped off in the 
direction of Palestro. 

Palestro is impregnable in front. There is only one 
road through the rice fields, and the place is protected 
on that side by an earthwork, whence four pieces of 
artillery could stop several thousand men. Cialdini 
had cleverly turned the position on the right. We followed 
in his footsteps, and entered the village, as our troops, 
to the cry of * Long live the king ! ' ' Long live Savoy ! ' 
were driving back the enemy at the point of the bayonet ; 
while another Austrian brigade was hurrying up to their 
aid. The struggle was tremendous. The Austrians de- 
fended every house, firing from the windows, the roofs 
and the walls, whilst our men pushed forward with 
indomitable pluck. The loss of life was great, but we 
expelled the enemy. On our left, Durando captured 
the position of Vinzaglio, after some brilliant bayonet 
charges. Captain Vecchi, one of our staff officers, dis- 
mounted, and at the head of his men rushed, sword in 
hand, at the barricade erected at the entrance of the 
village. Springing on the top, he pulled up those below, 
stormed the second barricade, and with his handful of 
men drove the enemy before him without receiving a 


scratch. General Fanti drove out the small body of 
Austrians who held Casalino, and then hurried to 
Confienza, where he again repulsed the enemy. Our 
victory was complete, and all the more glorious because 
gained without extraneous help. 

In the evening, the emperor rode over from Vercelli 
to congratulate the king, and on his return sent a regi- 
ment of Zouaves, about two thousand four hundred men, 
under Colonel Chabron, with orders to place them- 
selves at the disposition of Victor Emanuel. Napoleon 
foresaw that the enemy would receive reinforcements 
during the night, and at daylight try to recapture 

The king passed the night in a house adjoining the 
big farm of Torrione ; and in the early morning of the 
31st, while Cialdini and I were taking our orders for 
the day, a cannon shot warned us that the enemy was 
approaching. Cialdini's divisions and the Zouaves were 
the only troops near Torrione, and forty thousand men 
were marching to attack us. We immediately mounted 
and sent off a considerable body of troops towards our 
left ; but suspecting that the enemy's advance on that side 
might only be a feint, the king and I climbed up the 
campanile of the little church and found our surmise to 
be correct. The greater portion of the Austrian army was 
to our right, with the intention of turning our position 
and cutting us off from the bridge over the Sesia, pre- 
pared for the passage of Canrobert's troops. Our 
right was weak, but fortunately the Zouaves came up at 
double-quick time, followed by four pieces of artillery. 
As they debouched on to the piazza in Palestro, the king 
descended from the campanile and took his place in their 
ranks. I remained for a short time on the tower, but, 
anxious not to lose sight of Victor Emanuel, soon joined 
him. We were in the midst of the Zouaves, who rushed 


like lions upon the Austrians, drove them back, and 
threw many into the canal. Colonel Chabron approached 
the king and said, ' Sire^ retirez vous^ ce riest pas id voire 
place.^ * Dans le danger^ replied His Majesty ; ' ma place 
est au fnilieu des miens^ et aujourdhui vous etes des miens! 
The slaughter was great. Our brigades Regina and 
Savona and the Zouaves covered themselves with glory, 
took many prisoners and several cannon. 

In the midst of all these horrors comic scenes occurred. 
One of the enemy's ammunition waggons was driven up at 
full gallop by two of our infantry soldiers as postillions, 
while another on the box shouted, * Faster ; go on, postil- 
lions ; let us enjoy our carriage and horses now we've got 
them ! ' Then came several of our men, with some Zouaves 
harnessed to cannon taken from the enemy, hallooing, ' Make 
way for the new artillerymen ! ' followed by prisoners of 
every arm. The poor fellows made signs that they were 
suffering from hunger and thirst ; and the Zouaves, so 
terrible whilst fighting, were kindly and compassionate. 
They produced bits of bread from their pockets, and ran 
to the fountain to get water, which they offered, with 
caressing gestures, such as one might use to children. — 
* Tu as/aim^ 7non petit ? Mange, mange , moi ga. Et avale ce 
verve deau fraiche! We remained masters of the posi- 
tions, victorious all along the line. The emperor came 
from Vercelli to compliment the king and thank him, for 
this victory enabled Canrobert to execute his march 
from Vercelli to Novara, and secured the success of the 

On his way back to Vercelli, Napoleon met a detach- 
ment of the Nizza cavalry escorting prisoners. The young 
officer in command halted to render military honours to the 
emperor, who returned his salute and said some courteous 
words about the successful issue of the day. The sub- 
lieutenant replied in such pure French that Napoleon was 



struck, and asked who he was. ' I am the Duke of Chartres/ 
was the answer.^ 

-During the night of the 31st May a deputation of 
Zouaves came to our modest quarters at Torrione and 
insisted on seeing the king. Tired out, he was fast asleep ; 
but his servant woke him, and, half dressed, he came out 
to see his comrades of the day's fight. They were soldiers 
and corporals, with an officer as spokesman, who presented 
Victor Emanuel with the stripes of a corporal of Zouaves. 
He thanked him heartily, and they cheered him as they 
had done when he fought in their ranks like a simple 
corporal — * Vive notre chef. Vive le preux Victor Emanuel 
de Savoie.' 

Next day the king visited the battlefield, received with 
acclamation by the Zouaves and other troops. We found 
wounded men lying in the wheat, who had passed a night 
of agony without succour and without a drop of water. For 
several days water was hard to get ; so many corpses had 
been thrown into the canals that even the mills were clogged 
by them. In the evening the emperor transferred his head- 
quarters to Novara, which the French had taken after very 
slight resistance. 

On the 2d June the chief part of the French army con- 
centrated at Novara, while an advanced guard pushed on 
towards the Ticino, which the Austrians had crossed the 
day before by a forced march. They tried to blow up the 
bridge of S. Martino di Trecate behind them, but their 
powder was so bad that the damage done was slight. 
Nevertheless, Napoleon caused another bridge to be thrown 
across for the passage of his troops. That same night three 
of our divisions — Castelborgo, Fanti and Durando — ad- 

1 Robert Ferdinand d'Orleans, Duke of Chartres, had been sent to our 
Royal Military Academy to study, and had just left it with the grade of sub- 
lieutenant in the cavalry. He was a handsome, intelligent youth, and glad to 
undergo his first baptism of fire in the company of his compatriots. 


vanced from Palestro towards Galliate, followed by Can- 
robert. Cialdini remained at Vercelli to guard the Sesia, 
and Cucchiari was at Casale to guard the Po. 

Giulay, who only understood after the battle of Palestro 
that the whole allied army was on his flank, retreated, 
abandoning Vercelli and Novara. With unusual rapidity 
of conception and movement, he summoned his troops 
from Vigevano and Abbiategrasso and massed his forces 
at Magenta. It was an excellent tactical position ; more 
extensive, more open, in every way better than Palestro, 
and well protected by the double line of the Ticino and the 
canal called the Naviglio, which supplied Milan with water. 
On the 3d the Austrian commander-in-chief had made all 
his arrangements for concentrating his forces at Magenta 
to oppose the advance of the allied army on Milan, when 
Field-Marshal Baron Hess, chief of the staff, arrived from 
Verona with full powers from the Emperor Francis Joseph. 
News of the defeat at Palestro had reached him, but he 
was not aware that the army was in full retreat, and his 
orders were to hold the district of Lomellina ^ at any 
sacrifice. Giulay had to confess that it was already aban- 
doned, and that the allies were menacing Milan. Baron 
Hess changed some of the dispositions made by Giulay, 
and sent orders to part of the Austrian troops to remain at 
Vigevano and Abbiategrasso, thus diminishing their avail- 
able number at Magenta, where they only had fifty thou- 
sand men on the 4th May. Napoleon had given orders 
that the corps of MacMahon, Niel and Baraguay d'Hilliers, 
and our divisions Castelborgo, Durando and Fanti, were to 
cross the Ticino from the right to the left bank on that 
same day. He was ignorant of Giulay's movements, so the 
engagement of Robecchetto, which took place early in the 
morning between the troops of MacMahon and those of 
Clam Gallas, and the battle of Magenta in the afternoon, 

^ Lomellina is in the province of Pa via. — Translator's Note. 


were surprises. The affair of Robecchetto retarded the 
crossing of the river by MacMahon's corps, so the divisions 
of Fanti and Durando, v^rho were to follow in his wake, had 
to wait from six in the morning until eleven. While the 
king stood near the bridge to see the troops march past, 
we heard that General Urban was in the neighbourhood. 
Garibaldi had driven him out of the district of Comasco, 
and he was reported to be somewhere near Monza. I im- 
mediately sent out small detachments to reconnoitre, and 
before one o'clock, while Fanti and Durando were crossing 
the river with their divisions, the news was confirmed. 

As soon as our troops reached the left bank their pro- 
gress was arrested. We could not make out the nature of 
the obstacle, so the king sent me to Fanti to ask what had 
happened. MacMahon's military train stopped the way, 
and there was no hope of our troops advancing for hours. 
I went in search of MacMahon, who was pushing forward 
to get up with the enemy, whom he found near the 
bridge of Buffalora. The marshal was anxiously awaiting 
his second column under General Espinasse, who had mis- 
taken the road, and was much put out at the enforced 
delay of our divisions, on whose aid he was counting, 
particularly as Espinasse was not to be seen. But he could 
suggest no remedy save patience ; his baggage was so 
hopelessly entangled in the midst of the troops that the 
road could not be cleared. I returned to tell Fanti to try 
and advance by lanes and across fields to join MacMahon, 
and ordered Durando to change front and intercept Urban 
on the left. MacMahon had opened fire at Buffalora for 
more than an hour, but ordered it to cease while, with a 
small cavalry escort, he went in search of Espinasse. This 
placed the emperor, with part of the Guard and a brigade 
of 'Zouaves, in considerable peril, he having hurried from 
the bridge of S. Martino to the Naviglio as soon as the 
cannonade began at Buffalora. Before he arrived the 


Austrians had blown up all the bridges, and he was forced 
to throw over new ones while exposed to a murderous fire 
from the enemy's guns on the left bank of the canal, which 
was considerably above him. Several small but bloody 
engagements took place on either bank, and the hours 
passed slowly to the emperor, who began to be nervous 
about the issue of events. 

Suddenly, towards evening, came the good news that 
MacMahon had found Espinasse, outflanked the Austrians 
on the right, and was pressing them hard on every side. 
Soon afterwards we knew that he had driven them out of 
their position ; and, helped by Fanti, who arrived late, but 
in time to be of use, had destroyed the barricades at the 
station and driven the enemy from their last entrenchments 
The allies were victorious, and the troops passed the night 
on the battlefield. 

On the 5th, when the emperor knew the particulars of 
the battle, he made up his mind that the victory was due 
to MacMahon, whom he created a Marshal of France and 
Duke of Magenta. Considerable envy was aroused by 
the bestowal of such high honours, and MacMahon's want 
of forethought and clearness in giving orders were much 
criticised ; by his delay he upset the plan of attack and 
nearly caused it to fail. 

The Austrians retreated in the direction of the Adda 
during the night after the battle of Magenta. Faithful to 
his first idea of fighting a great battle on the plains of 
Lombardy, in the vicinity of the Quadrilateral, Giulay left 
the road to Milan open to the allied army, and was only 
attacked by the French at Melegnano, when Baraguay 
d'Hilliers drove the last of their troops towards the Adda 
on the day of the entry into Milan. 

The crossing of the Ticino by a large body of the allied 
troops was retarded by the unexpected battle of Magenta, 
which was a surprise. The baggage and military train of all 


the French corps were far too numerous, and their leaders 
miscalculated the time they would take to pass over, so 
that we were kept waiting the whole of the 5th May 
before our divisions could cross the river. The king was 
obliged to remain at Galliate during the night of the 4th 
and next morning at daybreak he went to see the emperor 
at S. Martino di Trecate, and visited the battlefield of 
Magenta with him. Victor Emanuel hoped to see our 
troops defiling across the bridges in the afternoon. I went 
to ask at what hour I was to order our divisions to be 
ready, and found the emperor seated on a rickety chair 
near a bridge with Baraguay d'Hilliers, whose men were 
marching past. Turning to the marshal. Napoleon said, 
' VoyonSy d quelle heure nos troupes auront-elles fini de 
passer ? ' Pulling out his watch, Baraguay answered, ' // 
n'est pas encore deux heures. Canrobert qui va venir apres 
moiy aura fini d quatre heures^ Niel d six^ ' Vous entendez 
genera^ said the emperor to me, * Baraguay croit qu' apres 
six heures les ponts seront litres.^ I saw that Baraguay was 
quite out in his reckoning, and that the French army could 
not cross the Ticino, there being only two bridges, before 
late in the night. Pretending to have understood six in 
the morning, I answered, * Cest bieUy sire, demain matin 
bien avant six heures nos troupes seront pretes pour passer 
le fleuve! '■Mais non, mais non^ exclaimed Napoleon, 
''Baraguay entend dire ce soir a six heures! I bowed, 
but my face must have shown that I was not convinced. 
As a fact, the bridges were not free until two o'clock that 

The next morning the king again visited the emperor 
at S. Martino, and in his presence received the Milanese 
deputation, which came to announce the evacuation of 
Milan by the Austrians, and the proclamation by the 
municipal council of Victor Emanuel as king. They 
begged him to come as soon as possible and take 


possession of the city. Victor Emanuel accepted the 
sovereignty, and promised that the troops should start 
immediately on their way to Milan. 

Leaving Magenta, the king crossed the Ticino by a 
bridge of boats and went to our headquarters at Lainate. 
The emperor sent to warn us that an Austrian corps, under 
General Urban, menaced our flank, and as the letter con- 
tained no instructions the king was in doubt whether to 
remain on the defensive or go in search of the enemy. To 
put an end to this uncertainty I asked his leave to take a 
small division of six squadrons of light cavalry, artillery and 
Bersaglieri, and scour the country. I soon found out that 
the enemy's rearguard was only a few hours' march dis- 
tant, and that they were exhausted by fatigue and priva- 
tions. My men, on the contrary, were fresh, well fed and 
eager to fight, so there was every probability of my 
catching up the Austrians and forcing them to fight or 
surrender. We gained rapidly upon Urban, who had 
halted at Vespolate to flog some men who had fallen 
out of the ranks ; and in forty minutes we expected to 
come up to him, when some French officers galloped up 
with a white flag of truce. General Desvaux had sent 
them, in the name of the emperor, to call upon the 
Austrian commander to surrender. We were, of course, 
obliged to stop and await their return. In vain we waited 
till night closed in, when I sent back to Lainate to inform 
the king, who despatched Count Charles di Robilant to the 
French headquarters at Magenta to ask for an explanation. 
The emperor was already in bed, but received Robilant at 
once, and said there must have been some misunderstand- 
ing. He had given Desvaux permission to pursue Urban 
with his regiment, but could not conceive why a flag of 
truce had been sent. The mystery was afterwards solvea 
Desvaux took the wrong road, and only discovered his 
mistake too late. Then, counting on the exhausted con- 


dition of Urban 's troops, he thought they would surrender. 
But he was wrong ; and the delay of the French officers in 
notifying his refusal deprived me of the honour and satis- 
faction of inflicting a lesson on the imperious and cruel 
Austrian general. 

1859 (third part) 

Entry into Milan — Te Deum in Cathedral — We enter Brescia — Deputations 
from Trieste and Bologna — The Empress advises Napoleon to return 
to France — Solferino — S. Martino — We invest Peschiera — Austrians 
send Flag of Truce — Armistice — Violent Scene between Victor 
Emanuel and Cavour — Cavour resigns — Napoleon and Victor 
Emanuel enter Milan — Cold Reception at Turin. 

On the 7th June we arrived outside the walls of Milan, 
and next morning entered the city by the Porta Sempione, 
where a division of infantry and one of cavalry was drawn 
up. The procession was opened by a squadron of the 
Cents Gardes, followed by all the aides-de-camp of the king, 
then by those of the emperor ; the two sovereigns rode to- 
gether, and after them came the officers of the staff of both 
armies, and another squadron of Guards closed the cortege. 
At about nine o'clock we passed under the magnificent 
triumphal arch raised to the memory of Napoleon I., and 
transformed by the House of Austria to a monument to 
their own glory. The streets were crowded with people 
and decked with the Italian and French colours. A con- 
tinuous rain of flowers and enthusiastic cheers for the 
emperor and for the king, for the Piedmontese and the 
French, accompanied us all the way. Involuntarily I 
thought of poor Charles Albert when, in August 1848, he 
turned to me on the steps of the Greppi Palace and said, 
* Ahy La RoccUy quelle journee ? ' 



Lodgings had been prepared for the emperor in the 
villa of the public gardens built for Prince Eugene Beau- 
harnais, Viceroy of Italy, by Napoleon I., and afterwards 
inhabited by the Austrian archdukes. The king took 
up his residence in the splendid palace Serbelloni-Busca. 

The sovereigns went in state to the cathedral on the 
9th June to hear the Te Deum for the liberation of Milan, 
when a disagreeable incident happened for us Italians. 
When the mass was over, the Abbe Laine, chaplain to 
the emperor, intoned the D online^ salvumfac Imperatorem 
nostrum, Napoleonein, answered by the band of the Guides, 
The same oremus ought to have been sung for Victor 
Emanuel, but his chaplain never thought of arranging 
with the emperor's chaplain or with our military band; 
so nothing was done, and we left the church with a painful 

Napoleon and Victor Emanuel remained a day or two 
at Milan, where General Castelborgo was left as governor. 
I was obliged to leave after the service to obtain precise 
information about the engagement of Melegnano, and give 
orders in case the enemy should attack us on the other side 
of Milan. 

From the day we left the Lombard capital until the 
Austrians retreated beyond the Mincio — from the nth to 
the 2 1st June — with the exception of a few days spent 
at Brescia, we were always engaged in forced marches 
ordered by the emperor. Evidently we were sent as an 
advanced guard, while his own troops marched leisurely ; 
so that we arrived under the walls of Brescia many days 
before them. He was puzzled as to the ultimate designs 
of the Austrian commander-in-chief, who seemed inclined 
to cross the Chiese and concentrate his forces at Monte- 
chiari in readiness for the great battle which had been 
talked of for more than a month. There were constant 
false alarms ; and as soon as our troops advanced the 


enemy retreated, wearing our men out in fatiguing and 
useless marches. 

Victor Emanuel left Milan for Vimercate on the nth, 
and after crossing the Adda and the Oglio, arrived near 
Brescia on the 15th without meeting the Austrians. He 
did not wish to enter the city so long before Napoleon 
arrived, so established his headquarters at Castegnato near 
by — an excellent position for observing the enemy's move- 
ments — under the impression that Giulay intended giving 
battle at Montechiari. Our troops were stationed in the 
strong positions of Castenedolo when he retired and 
crossed to the left bank of the Chiesi. We thus lost a 
good opportunity of fighting him. 

Meanwhile, Garibaldi had attacked and beaten the 
Austrians at Tre Ponti, aided by Cialdini, who had been 
sent, by desire of the emperor, to assist the movements 
of the volunteers in the valleys of the Oglio and the Mella, 
whence the Austrians might have attacked us on the flank. 
As soon as Cialdini reached Salo, on the lake of Garda, 
he constructed a battery to sink the enemy's boats, who 
precipitately retired. 

On the 17th June, the day before the arrival of the 
French, we entered Brescia. The reception was, if possible, 
more enthusiastic than at Milan. Not a window but was 
decorated with the national colours, and flowers rained' 
thick on us and our horses. We spent three days there, 
well lodged and well fed — a pleasant change after so many 
privations. On the 20th I celebrated my fifty-second 
birthday, thankful for my robust constitution, which enabled 
me to resist fatigue better than many a younger man. 

The French troops were forced to halt for a few days 
for want of provisions. Their commissariat was inferior 
to ours, and there was considerable disorder and peculation. 
Many years afterwards I was at the Chartreuse of Grenoble, 
and the abbot told me one of his monks had been in the 


campaign of 1859, but was so horrified by the carnage at 
Magenta that he left the service and entered the convent. 
As the monks passed to go into church, the abbot pointed 
the man out, and I recognised a French officer who had 
disappeared, with some others, when an inquiry into the 
disorders of the commissariat department was made. 
Leaving Brescia, we crossed the Chiese at Calcinato, where 
the king established his headquarters. On the 21st June 
all the divisions were on the left bank ; the ist and the 5th 
at Lonato, the 2d at Calcinato, the 3d at Desenzano, and 
the cavalry between Bedizzole and Lonato. Deputations 
from the cities of Trent and Bologna came to Calcinato to 
express their desire to be annexed to Piedmont. The 
king thanked the latter, but said for the- moment he could 
only accord them military protection, with a view to their 
assisting in the great cause of Italian independence. The 
deputies from Trent he received with courtesy, without 
pronouncing a word that could raise any hope that he 
would accede to their wishes. Italian Tyrol formed part 
of the German Confederation, with which it was not our 
interest to interfere. 

On the 23d the emperor came to visit Victor Emanuel 
at Lonato, and inspect the positions to be occupied, with a 
view to crossing the Mincio and besieging Peschiera or 
Verona. It was near lunch time when Napoleon, dis- 
missing the suite, asked the king to ride up a hill near by, 
whence a view of all the positions might be obtained. No 
one had been invited to follow the sovereigns, but after 
they had gone a few steps, Victor Emanuel, always ac- 
customed to have me by his side as a guide, looked back 
and beckoned to me to join them. I soon saw that the 
emperor did not care about examining the positions, but 
that his object was to be alone with the king in some quiet 
place. We were more than half way up the hill, and I 
thought they would ride to the summit while I remained 


on the slope. But the emperor pulled up his horse close 
to where I was, and taking a letter from his pocket, read 
it aloud to Victor Emanuel. I feigned to examine the 
country through my field-glasses, but could not avoid 
hearing every word. The letter was from the empress, who 
had been named regent during her husband's absence, and 
was evidently one of a series. Alluding to certain designs of 
the German Confederation, and to the approach of Prussian 
troops towards Coblenz and Cologne, she complained of 
the insufficient forces left in France in case of a possible 
Prussian invasion, and requested the emperor to come to 
an immediate decision, and send back part of the Arm^e 
d'ltalie. She bade him consider the terrible consequences 
of a defeat on the Rhine, and advised him to take advan- 
tage of the victories already won to conclude peace, and 
return to France to stem the growing discontent at the 
menacing advance of Prussia. 

Victor Emanuel listened in silence ; he understood, as 
I did, that all was finished, and that the emperor would 
not risk his own throne to serve Italy. Slowly and 
silently the two sovereigns descended the hill, without 
giving another thought to the siege of Peschiera or 
Verona. Reading the letter of the empress, without 
any comment, was a tacit retraction by the emperor of 
his promise to free Italy from the Alps to the Adriatic. 
It was the first intimation that he meant to stop short 
at the Mincio. 

At the lunch given by the king to the emperor at 
Lonato I sat opposite the latter, next to an officer of his 
suite. We were talking of the more or less probability of 
a pitched battle, and my neighbour asked my opinion. 
* Hitherto,' I answered, * my forecasts have been pretty 
good ones. I suspect we shall see no more battles on the 
right bank of the Mincio.' The emperor, whose sense of 
hearing was extraordinarily acute, laughed and said, * What 


a prophet ! How can there be any battle when there is no 
enemy on this side ? ' 

No one could imagine that a few hours later the Aus- 
trians would cross the river and attack us in our positions 
on the right bank. The order of the day, published in the 
evening of the 23d for the 24th June, was as follows : — 
' 1st, 3d and 5th divisions are to leave Lonato for the siege 
of Peschiera, keeping on the right bank of the Mincio. 
The 2d division, with the cavalry, will remain at Lonato 
in reserve ; headquarters to be moved to Rivoltella.' But 
that night the enemy threw a large number of bridges over 
the Mincio, and before daylight their army had crossed. 
Colonel Cadorna fell in with some Austrian outposts, and 
the fusillade gave the alarm. By the king's order, I at 
once sent an officer to Castiglione, where the emperor had 
just arrived from Montechiari, to warn him, and soon after- 
wards came a note from him, saying, * Eighty thousand 
(there were over one hundred thousand) Austrians have 
suddenly appeared on my front. Send a strong reinforce- 
ment in the direction of Solferino.' The king replied, ' I 
send part of divisions Fanti and Durando. At this 
moment I am informed that the enemy is advancing in 
force on our right, at Madonna della Scoperta, and on 
our left at S. Martino. I must retain the rest of my 
troops in those positions for our own defence.' 

Napoleon had advanced cautiously, and kept his army 
well together until he reached the Chiese, when, seeing the 
enemy withdraw to such a distance, he thought he might 
allow a larger space to intervene between the different corps. 
Thus, when the engagement on the 24th began, he found 
himself with only the Imperial Guard and MacMahon's 
corps at hand. Baraguay d'Hilliers, however, soon hurried 
up, and reinforcements were despatched to Solferino, where 
the battle began to rage furiously about mid-day. The 
Emperor Francis Joseph led the Austrian army in person, 


and the struggle was a tremendous one. Napoleon, with 
the two army corps, gained a complete victory at Solferino, 
and was master of the field of battle about one o'clock ; 
while at Robecco, Casanova, Montefontana and Cavriano 
the corps of Canrobert and Niel beat off repeated attacks, 
and at length forced the centre of the Austrian army to retire. 

We were not so fortunate in the early part of the day. 
Durando's advanced guard repulsed a first attack by four 
brigades of Stadion's corps at Madonna della Scoperta, but, 
overcome by superior numbers, were driven back into 
the Val di Quadro. Benedek, concentrated at Pozzolengo, 
repeatedly charged Mollard and Cucchiari at S. Martino, 
whose forces were insufficient to defend so extended a line, 
and at last gave way. Towards mid-day I was warned 
there was no unity of command, and consequently no con- 
centration of forces, which were, on the contrary, broken up 
into various detachments. Knowing that General Alphonse 
La Marmora was on the spot as a simple spectator, I sent 
one of the king's aides-de-camp to order him to assume the 
command of the two corps Durando and Fanti. This he did 
with considerable success, but the enemy was so superior 
to us in number that a victory could not be hoped for. 

The king and I were on rising ground in front of 
Castelvenzago, whence we could follow the phases of the 
battle through our field-glasses. The enemy had retired 
from Madonna della Scoperta, but occupied the position of 
S. Martino in great strength. Our 2d division had 
been ordered up to support the other two, and Victor 
Emanuel was fuming with impatience at seeing our men 
worsted and not being among them. In spite of my 
remonstrances, he insisted on descending into the plain 
to join the troops and encourage them. Followed by 
several aides-de-camp, he started for S. Martino, which 
was much further off than he thought, while I remained 
to fulfil my duties as head of the staff at Castelvenzago. 


My anxiety that our troops should be victorious increased 
when news came of the great victory at Solferino, and the 
probable successes of Canrobert and Niel; so when see- 
ing how useless his presence was in the plain, the king 
returned, I submitted to him a project of attacking three 
different points with our four divisions at five o'clock, and 
driving the Austrians out of the position of S. Martino at 
any sacrifice. He approved, and orders were sent to exe- 
cute my plan. Our troops had started, when suddenly the 
sky became black as ink, and the fury of the wind was 
such that men were blown off their horses, while the rain 
fell in torrents. The hurricane lasted twenty minutes, 
during which movements were impossible. Only Fanti, 
with part of his division, reached his destination. Durando 
never arrived, and La Marmora, with a small following, 
marched towards Monzambano, to attack the left flank 
of Benedek. 

The storm ceased at half-past five, and our troops 
attacked with splendid dash. Step by step they gained 
ground, and took battery after battery. Before night the 
enemy was driven out of his position, and retreated in 
complete disorder. Towards nine we heard the last cannon 
shots, and darkness forced us to stop the pursuit. This 
victory cost us five thousand five hundred and twenty-two 
men — one thousand three hundred and fifty soldiers and 
fifty officers killed, the rest wounded, and five hundred 
prisoners, but not a single officer among them. 

The king bivouacked for the night at Castelvenzago, 
and the emperor established his headquarters at Cavriana, 
in the same house Francis Joseph had occupied that 
morning. The French drove the Austrians out after the 
great storm. I went off to Lonato, our headquarters, to 
give orders for the ambulances and the food supplies for 
the next day, and telegraphed immediately to Cavour : — 
* A great battle ; victorious all along the line ; enemy in 


full retreat ; recrossing the Mincio/ I hoped the glorious 
news would be known at Turin next morning, but for some 
unknown motive my telegram was not published till the 
26th, and on the evening of the 25th the papers had a 
copy of the despatch sent by the emperor to the empress 
in Paris. At two in the morning I returned to Castel- 
venzago to make my report to Victor Emanuel. Embrac- 
ing me, he said he had decided to give me the Order of 
the Annunziata, and invited me to lie down by his side on 
the bare earth, where we slept till daylight. We expected 
to be attacked again, and all was ready to repulse the 
enemy ; but we soon heard that the Emperor Francis 
Joseph was at Villafranca, and that his whole army had 
crossed to the left bank of the Mincio. - 

The king took up his headquarters at Rivoltella, and 
early in the morning we rode over the battlefield of 
S. Martino. Many unfortunate wounded men still lay 
where they had fallen ; the houses and the churches near 
by were all full. The 3d division alone had two thousand 
two hundred wounded ; among them was my nephew 
Constantine. A ball had broken his jaw, and he could 
not speak, but was perfectly conscious. He was so dis- 
figured that I did not recognise him ; so, writing on his 
notebook, ' I am your nephew Constantine,' he handed 
it to me, as with the king I passed close to him. The 
brigade of my brother Robert also suffered severely. 

The 26th was a Sunday, and after hearing mass in the 
parish church, we rode to Desenzano to visit the hospitals, 
which were crowded with wounded, as well as all the 
houses of the village. On the 27th the king returned to 
S. Martino, where a large body of troops were still en- 
camped. Count Fabio Tracagni, owner of the land where 
the last tremendous struggle had taken place, was pre- 
sented to the king. Farmhouses and villa were a mass 
of ruins ; gardens, meadows, and fields were devastated. 



The king expressed his sorrow for the damage done, but 
Count Tracagni did not allow him to finish his sentence. 
He declared that he regretted nothing, but, on the contrary, 
felt proud to possess a property hallowed for ever by the 
valour of the Italian army. Touched by these words, the 
king held out his hand, which the count tried to kiss, but 
Victor Emanuel prevented this, and shook hands cordially. 

In the afternoon the Emperor sent General Froissart 
of the engineers, and General Leboeuf of the artillery, to 
concert measures with Menabrea and myself about the 
siege of Peschiera. After the excursion of the two 
sovereigns on the 23d, and still more after the battle 
next day, I was convinced that the siege would not take 
place, and that negotiations for peace were being carried 
on. I did not even mention the matter to the king. 
He perhaps still cherished some hope ; I had none. But, 
of course, I carried out the orders sent to me, and prepared 
everything for the investment of Peschiera. 

On the 27th and 28th June the troops destined for the 
siege crossed the Mincio without being disturbed by the 
enemy. On the 29th I went with the commanding officers 
of the engineers and artillery to trace the lines of cir- 
cumvallation agreed upon with Froissart, and that same 
evening our guns opened fire. The enemy answered 
immediately, and as we were beyond the outposts there 
were a few skirmishes, in one of which two officers of 
Grenadiers were killed and several soldiers wounded. 

On the 1st July we transferred our headquarters to 
a house in Pozzolengo, which had been inhabited by 
Charles Albert in 1848, and by Benedek on the eve of 
Solferino. The 3d and 5th divisions crossed the Mincio 
at Salionze, together with the ist French corps, to invest 
Peschiera from the left bank. The headquarters of 
the emperor were at Valeggio, where the 3d corps was 
stationed with one division at Goito. Next day we moved 


to Monzambano, and remained there till the 12th July. 
The French army was holding the positions we occupied 
in 1848 ; but Napoleon, whose one idea was to concentrate 
his troops, thought the line too extended, and on the 
nights of the 3d and 4th withdrew and formed a line 
with one wing on the lake of Garda, then from Castel- 
novo along the Tirone, through Oliosi and La Gherla, on 
the road from Villafranca, to Valeggio, and from Pozzuolo 
and Goito extending to the Mincio. 

Meanwhile, General Hess, who was at Verona with 
the Emperor of Austria, sent the son of General Urban 
with a flag of truce and a letter to Marshal Vaillant. 
Napoleon wished to speak to the young officer himself, 
and forgetting the oldest and most elementary rule of 
military discipline, the French allowed him to traverse 
their whole camp without being blindfolded. When too 
late they perceived their error, and committed the 
absurdity of blindfolding him on his return, when he had 
seen everything. The Austrians behaved very differently 
two days later. When the king visited the wounded 
Austrian officers, who had fallen into our hands, they 
begged so earnestly to be allowed to return to their 
compatriots that he resolved to give them up uncon- 
ditionally, and ordered me to write to General Hess and 
send Count di Robilant with a flag of truce. He started 
for Verona with a small escort, which was stopped at the 
outposts, and he was blindfolded and sent on alone in a 
closed carriage. 

General Hess knew Robilant, and introduced him to 
the Emperor Francis Joseph, who, with true military 
courtesy, praised our troops, particularly the Bersaglieri 
and artillery, and asked after the king, to whom he sent 
his compliments. On leaving, the count was again blind- 
folded and driven back to where his escort was waiting. 

On the 6th, Victor Emanuel mounted his horse early 


and went to meet his son-in-law, Prince Jerome Napoleon, 
who preceded the 5th French corps and the Tuscan 
troops under General Ulloa. I was busy all day carrying 
out the emperor's orders to prepare for a defensive battle, 
in which I did not believe. While visiting the positions 
next day. General Cadogan, the English officer attached 
to our army, asked me where he could get a good view of 
the intended battle. I advised the top of a hill over- 
hanging the river, and next morning he went there at 
daylight and remained some hours without seeing any- 
thing. On returning to headquarters he was very angry 
at hearing that I had gone with Vaillant and Martimprey 
to Villafranco to meet General Hess and sign a truce 
agreed upon between the sovereigns. Napoleon had sent his 
aide-de-camp. General Fleury, on the evening of the 7th, 
to the Emperor of Austria with a letter proposing a 
suspension of hostilities, to be followed by an armistice. 
Francis Joseph demanded the night for reflection, and 
next morning delivered his acceptance to Fleury, who 
brought it to Valeggio. Napoleon then sent him a 
second letter, stating the conditions on which he would 
treat for peace, adding, that if the Emperor Francis Joseph 
was inclined to accept them, he wished for a personal 
interview ; if not, he would prefer not to meet him, as it 
would render the continuance of war more painful. The 
conditions were accepted, and the meeting fixed for the 
nth July at Villafranca. Our troops meanwhile took 
up the positions indicated in the armistice. 

On the loth Count Cavour arrived at our headquarters, 
accompanied by his secretary, Constantine Negri, afterwards 
Italian ambassador at Paris, and by Alexander Bixio, who 
in 1848 was the envoy extraordinary of the French 
Republic at the Sardinian Court, and a strong partisan of 
the unity of Italy. He came straight to me to announce 
Cavour's arrival, and warned me of the state of irritation 


and excitement the news of the armistice had thrown him 
into. He had forbidden the publication of the news by 
the Turinese papers, but it had been divulged by the 
French journals, who only mentioned the Emperor 
Napoleon, without even alluding to the king. Cavour at 
once went to Victor Emanuel. The meeting was a stormy 
one. The prime minister denounced everyone in bitter 
words of reprobation, and, irritated by the calmness with 
which the king listened and answered, at last lost all self- 
control and forgot the respect due to royalty. Victor 
Emanuel and Cavour were alone, and their conversation 
could not have been heard by anyone, so that all the 
accounts published of their interview are imaginary. 
Later in the day the king told me Cavour had been 
absolutely insolent and disrespectful, and that, feeling 
he could no longer contain himself, he had turned his 
back on the prime minister and left him. 

Cavour then came to my tiny room, which contained a 
camp bedstead and two chairs. Bixio was sitting on one, 
and immediately rose and went into the passage outside. 
Just as Cavour was declaiming against the king and every- 
one else, the door opened and Prince Jerome Napoleon 
entered. He took part in the discussion, which was em- 
bittered by his abrupt roughness. Cavour declined to 
entertain the idea of a prolonged armistice, or of treating 
for peace, save under the condition of the liberation of 
Northern Italy — from the Alps to the Adriatic — as 
announced by Napoleon HI. The prince replied that we 
ought to be only too glad to get Lombardy and the 
Duchies. I remember he wound up by exclaiming, ' Do 
you expect us to sacrifice France and our dynasty for 
you?' Cavour doggedly replied that promises were 
promises, and ought to be kept. He threatened to pro- 
mote and head a revolution rather than leave the work 
half done, and complained bitterly of the emperor, of the 


king, of La Marmora, of me. I could not blame him. For 
years he had worked to form an independent kingdom of 
Italy, and now he saw his labour stultified, his enterprise 
diminished and again reduced to anxious expectation. 
He could not be expected to resign himself and bow to 
dire necessity as we had done, who, day by day, had 
watched all the phases of the emperor's enforced with- 
drawal. Cavour, as a last resource, wished to carry on the 
war alone ; but 1 848 was too fresh in our memories, and, 
as military men, we declined the responsibility. It would 
have been folly, or worse, to pit fifty thousand or sixty 
thousand men against over two hundred thousand, who, 
although beaten, had shown such discipline and courage 
at Palestro and S. Martino. Victor Emanuel absolutely 
refused to stake the certain against the uncertain. The 
annexation of Lombardy and the Duchies doubled his 
army and increased the chances of ultimately liberating 
Venice and uniting Tuscany and the Legations, which 
had repeatedly invoked his aid, to the kingdom of 
northern Italy. For my part, I trusted in the great 
political sagacity of Napoleon III. The ability with 
which he had prepared the Franco- Sardinian alliance, 
and gained his end, convinced me that necessity, not 
caprice, induced him to abandon us. 

But Cavour would not listen to argument, and finding 
the king, the emperor, and Prince Jerome Napoleon inex- 
orable, resigned, and left for Turin as soon as he knew 
the first conditions of peace had been established. 

After the meeting of the two emperors at Villafranca, 
some modifications were made in the preliminaries, and on 
the 1 2th they and Victor Emanuel signed the treaty which 
united Lombardy, the Duchy of Parma, and Piacenza to 
Sardinia and Piedmont. On the original document the 
king added, by the side of his signature, ^ J'accepte pour ce 
qui me concerned thus accepting the increase of territory 


without entering into the other questions or prejudicing 
his future action. 

The emperor, Victor Emanuel and Prince Jerome 
dined together at Monzambano on the 12th, and after- 
wards Napoleon left for Desenzano, where he established 
his headquarters until he went to Milan. Next day the 
king announced his departure to the troops in an order of 
the day, and visited the emperor at Desenzano, where they 
drew up the proclamation to the Lombard people. The 
rough draught was dictated by the emperor, and after 
Victor Emanuel had altered and rewritten a sentence, he 
handed it to me to telegraph to the syndic of Milan. 
That afternoon the king left by special train, received 
with enthusiasm all along the line, and at seven reached 
Milan. Amid the acclamations of the populace he drove 
to the royal palace, where he occupied the apartment once 
inhabited by the viceroy of Lombardy, father of Queen 
Maria Adelaide. Next day we went to the station to meet 
the emperor, and the two sovereigns drove together in 
the same carriage. There was much cheering for Victor 
Emanuel and some for Napoleon. On the whole, the 
resentment against the emperor, who had put a stop to a 
war begun under such fortunate auspices, was not too 
openly displayed. 

Early on the 15th the king visited the sick and wounded 
in the hospitals, and as we were leaving the palace one of 
the French officers asked whether I had not forgotten to 
order the escort. He was extremely astonished when I 
told him that Victor Emanuel always went about alone 
with his aide-de-camp. Later, when the emperor drove to 
the French hospital, the carriage was surrounded by his 
Guards. At two the sovereigns again traversed the city 
together on their way to the station, and were warmly 
cheered. At Turin, on the contrary, their reception was 
icy. Hardly a cheer was raised for the king — not one for 


the emperor. After the State dinner Napoleon withdrew 
to his apartments, and had a long interview with Cavour. 
Early next morning he left for France, accompanied by the 
king as far as Susa. He intended to spend two days at 
Turin, but the coldness of his reception the evening before 
probably hastened his departure. When we returned to 
Turin the king granted me a few weeks' leave, and I went 
to join my family at Luserna. 



Marshal Vaillant — Napoleon objects to the Annexation of Tuscany — Cavour 
returns to Power — Persuades Napoleon to agree to the Annexation of 
Tuscany — I am named Commander of the 5th Army Corps — Annexation 
of Tuscany, Emilia, and the Romagna — Garibaldi upbraids Cavour. 

After spending some weeks with my family at Luserna 
I returned to Turin on the ist August, and on the 7th 
accompanied the king to Milan, where he was received 
with demonstrations of frantic enthusiasm. Marshal 
Vaillant, in command of the French troops, which were 
gradually being withdrawn from Italy, was still living in 
the Villa Reale, and I went one morning to see him. He 
was just going out, and, dressed in a light suit, looked quite 
a young man, spite of his seventy years. We strolled 
about the park, and I found he believed in the possi- 
bility and the advantages of a confederation of the Italian 
States under the presidency of the Pope, as announced by 
Napoleon III. in his last order of the day to the troops. I 
had the strongest doubts as to the working of such a plan, 
and I believe the emperor, whose suggestion it was, and 
who earnestly advocated it with Victor Emanuel and 
Cavour, had already realised its impossibility. At Villa- 
franca it had been agreed that the deposed princes 
might return to their States, but were not to call in the 
aid of foreign troops. Now it was most unlikely that, 
after declaring in favour of annexation to an Italian 



kingdom under Victor Emanuel, and sending deputa- 
tions to beg his assistance, the people would tamely con- 
sent to again receive the rulers they had expelled. 

Vaillant, like many Frenchmen, did not believe in the 
spontaneity or the unanimity of the revolutionary move- 
ment in Italy. Not wishing to contradict him, I turned 
the conversation to military matters, and soon after left 
him to continue his walk to a mill near by, where he went 
every morning to catch crayfish. ' There,' he said, ' 1 sit 
on the bank of the little stream and fish while preparing 
my orders for the morrow. They are not complicated, 
as everything is well prepared and goes by itself. Then 
I ponder over the events of my long life. The hours pass, 
and I go home to lunch with many memories . . . and 
very few crayfish.' 

Born in 1790, Vaillant became an officer in 181 1, and 
was in the Russian campaign and at Waterloo. Set aside 
by the government of the Restoration, he was again em- 
ployed after 1830 and sent to Algiers. When the empire 
was re-established after the coup cT^tat he became a Mar- 
shal of France, and was several times minister of war; 
in 1859 he held the post of general chief of the staff to 
the French army. Although not of high birth, he was a 
perfect gentleman, and shone among the other marshals 
and generals by his courteous and charming manners. 
In 1870 I heard that being too old for active service, he 
was on the ramparts of Paris in plain clothes and was 
mistaken for a spy by the Communists, who arrested and 
imprisoned him. He was exiled, and returned in 1871 
to Paris to die the following year. 

The king, after visiting other cities in Lombardy — 
Brescia, Bergamo, etc. — greeted everywhere with great 
enthusiasm, returned to Turin on the 17th August. 
During the autumn he received deputations and dele- 
gates from cities in the Emilia, in the Romagna, and in 


Tuscany, all wanting to be annexed to the Constitutional 
monarchy of the Re Galantuomo (Honest King). 

D'Azeglio, Boncompagni, Farini, Ricasoli, and many 
others had been ably working to this end with untiring 
patriotism ; and the people now came to solicit annexation 
to the kingdom of Victor Emanuel and the aid of his army 
against those who opposed the desires and will of the 
nation. During the war the king had refused to accept 
any proposals of allegiance, but now, with certain official 
restrictions imposed by foreign politics (explained away 
afterwards in private audiences), he promised that the 
popular desire should be gratified ere long, and the dele- 
gates left Turin trusting in the prompt realisation of his 
royal word. This was somewhat delayed by the hesita- 
tion of the Rattazzi-La Marmora-Dabormida ministry, 
who came to power after the resignation of Cavour at 
Villafranca. What with the serious discontent of Austria, 
who threatened to break off the negotiations at Zurich for 
peace if the Convention of Villafranca was not rigorously 
observed by the King of Sardinia ; and the hostility of 
France to the creation of a stronger Italy, our poor 
ministers sometimes lost their heads, and by their 
vacillation threatened to compromise and destroy the 
brilliant hopes of the future. 

Whilst declaring that the Convention of Villafranca 
must be respected. Napoleon allowed it to be understood 
that if Savoy, the cession of which, together with Nice, 
had been arranged at Plombieres (but not carried out at 
the close of the war because he had not fulfilled the con- 
ditions of the contract), was handed over to him, no 
objection would be raised to the annexation of Emilia 
and the Romagna. He absolutely objected to the annex- 
ation of Tuscany, of which he proposed to make a king- 
dom of Etruria under some prince who had nothing to 
do with Austria. The popular report was that the em- 


peror wished to reserve the throne for his cousin Jerome, 
husband of our Princess Clotilde ; but the real reason was 
his conviction that the annexation of Tuscany would 
hasten the formation of a united Italy, distasteful to all 
the great powers, with the exception of England. He 
also knew that they considered him in a great measure 
responsible for the Italian movement, and he was unable 
and unwilling to compromise himself further for us. 

In the Liberal party, especially among the lately an- 
nexed Lombard subjects, the unpopularity of the ministers 
increased daily ; while the king, by nature prompt and 
resolute, was in perpetual disaccord with one or the other. 
He said nothing, but in his heart of hearts regretted Cavour. 
Taking advantage of one of the frequent disagreements 
with La Marmora, which generally ended by his tendering 
his resignation — hitherto refused — the king took him at his 
word, dissolved the ministry and sent for Cavour. This 
was towards the middle of January i860, when Victor 
Emanuel was ill in bed. I left the king's' room when 
Camillo entered, and waited in the study, as His Majesty had 
orders to give me. Half an hour afterwards Cavour came 
out of the room with a smiling face and rubbing his hands, 
a sure sign that he was pleased. ' Well,' he said, looking 
straight at me over his spectacles, 'the reconciliation is 
complete.' 'Really?' I answered. 'Don't pretend to be 
a simpleton,' replied he; 'you knew it. And now,' he 
added in rather a sarcastic tone, ' many things will be 
accomplished.' Of that I had no doubt; but I never 
imagined, and I do not think Cavour himself thought, that 
before the end of the year we should be masters of the 
whole boot, with the exception of Venice and Rome. The 
alliance with Garibaldi, which brought about the union 
of the south with the north, only occurred some months 
later. At that moment he was in bad odour with the 
government. It is true they had put him in command of 


the Tuscan contingent, but Fanti, commander-in-chief of 
the army of the central provinces, was ordered to keep 
watch on him, and had found means to remove him. The 
first act of Cavour, on his return to power, was to name 
Farini Minister of the Interior, and Fanti Minister of War. 
The latter had shown great ability in organising the army 
of the central provinces, raised by him in a few months to 
forty-five thousand well-disciplined men. They had now 
to be incorporated and amalgamated with the Sardinian 
army and the Lombard troops, and he did the work well. 
Meanwhile, Cavour dissolved the Chambers, fixed the 
elections for the end of March, and the opening of the new 
Parliament for the beginning of April. His chief object 
was to repristinate the good relations existing before 
Villafranca between Victor Emanuel and Napoleon. 
Cavour understood what services the emperor might yet 
render Italy, and wished to secure him, not only as an 
ally, but, if I may use the word, an accomplice, having a 
direct and positive interest in the realisation of Italian 
aspirations. Aware of Napoleon's desire to possess Savoy 
and Nice, he therefore immediately reopened the question 
of their cession. Fond of Italy, and admiring and trusting 
Cavour, whom he regarded as the good genius of his 
mother-country, Napoleon III. promised his assistance. 
Meanwhile, Cavour and Fanti worked together to change 
the whole organisation of the army and facilitate its 
mobilisation. They divided it into five great corps d'armee^ 
each forming a small army, with its head of the staff, 
artillery, heavy and light cavalry, Bersaglieri, commissariat, 
ambulances, etc., etc., complete in number, easy to call 
together and put on a war footing in a few days. For 
more than two months no one was aware of what was 
going on ; I only knew it when the king offered me the 
command of the ist or the 3d corps, which I refused, as 
I wished to retain my post at his side. De Sonnaz was 


named to the ist, La Marmora to the 2d (the Lombard), 
extending from the Ticino to the Mincio, and from the 
Po to the lake of Garda. The 3d, under Durando, was 
destined to defend the line of the Po from Ferrara to 

All this occurred in March, and Cavour had meanwhile 
induced the emperor (by the promise of Nice and Savoy) 
to agree to the annexations, including that of Tuscany. 
The king wished to pay a visit to the Empress of Russia, 
widow of Nicholas L, who was about to leave Nice, where 
she had passed the winter. But his presence there at such 
a moment was considered inopportune, and he decided to 
send me to compliment the Czarina in his name, and 
explain why he had not come in person. Victor Emanuel 
had said nothing more to me about the commands of the 
five army corps, but a few days after I reached Nice, my 
brother Frederick, then aide-de-camp to the king, wrote, by 
his orders, to advise me not to persist in my refusal. The 
commanders of three divisions had already been appointed ; 
the ministers had asked for one for Cialdini, and the king 
had reserved the last (the Tuscan) for me. An immediate 
answer was necessary, as the Parliament opened early in 
April, and there was every prospect of another campaign. 
I should have liked to have spoken to His Majesty, and to 
have consulted my family, but it was impossible for me to 
leave Nice, as the Czarina had asked me to dinner on pur- 
pose to meet one of her sons, who was to arrive next day. 
Russia was one of the great powers who disapproved of the 
formation of a northern Italian kingdom, and I could not 
let slip an opportunity of conversing familiarly with the 
Grand Duke, and attempting to persuade him that Victor 
Emanuel was not influenced by personal ambition, and 
that his ministers (Cavour and Rattazzi) were not revolu- 
tionary Jacobins, making use of the democracy for their 
own ends. So I sent my servant back to Turin with letters 


for His Majesty, for my wife, and my brother, frankly 
stating my own wishes, but telling the two latter to decide 
as they thought best for my interests, and, above all, to 
conform to the wishes of the king. When I returned home 
everything had been settled ; I was gazetted commander 
of the 5th corps darmee (the Tuscan), resident for the 
present at Turin. Victor Emanuel meanwhile told me 
that I was to retain the position and the functions of his 
first aide-de-camp. 

The king, in his speech at the opening of Parliament 
on the 2nd April, announced the treaty for the cession of 
Nice and Savoy. In the stormy debates which followed, 
Cavour made two or three admirable speeches, and bore 
down all opposition. The cession of the two provinces 
was voted, and the annexation of Tuscany, Emilia and the 
Romagna to the kingdom of Victor Emanuel, who lost two 
or three millions of subjects and gained seven or eight. 
Garibaldi, deputy for Nice, made his first appearance in 
the House, and furiously upbraided Cavour, who certainly 
did not merit such treatment. It was reported that 
Garibaldi never forgot or forgave the cession of his birth- 
place, and that his bitter words always rankled in the 
mind of Cavour. 


The King visits New Provinces — Sends me to Compliment the ex-Duchess 
of Lucca at Viareggio — Embarkation of the * Thousand ' for Sicily — Our 
March into Umbria — Cardinal Antonelli and Cavour — Siege and Capitu- 
lation of Perugia — Execution of Priest — Siege of Ancona — Arrival of 
Victor Emanuel at Ancona. 

After the vote in the Chambers the king, who had already 
received all the deputations bringing the results of the 
various plebiscites, went to visit the new provinces. His 
entry into Florence on horseback, surrounded by a brilliant 
staff, was a triumphal progress, and in all the cities of Tus- 
cany, in Parma, in Piacenza, in the Romagna, in Bologna, 
etc., the enthusiasm was extraordinary. Either at Prato 
or Pistoia, I forget which, lunch had been prepared, to 
which I felt disposed to do full justice, when the king 
called me aside and ordered me to take post-horses and 
go to Viareggio to compliment his cousin, Maria Theresa, 
ex-Duchess of Lucca. 

Maria Theresa of Savoy, one of the four daughters of 
Victor Emanuel I. and Maria Theresa of Este, married 
Charles of Bourbon, a wretched madman, who made her life 
miserable. He abdicated in favour of his son, who was as 
bad, or worse, than his father, and died by the hand of an 
assassin. His son Robert succeeded him under the tute- 
lage of his mother, the Duchess of Berry. The ex-duke 



went to Paris, where he led a dissolute life, and Maria 
Theresa had retired to a villa near Viareggio, entirely 
buried in the pine woods. With some difficulty I per- 
suaded the porter to let my carriage drive up to the door, 
and the duchess was summoned from the chapel, where she 
passed the day praying for the repose of the soul of her 
son. She had no ladies or gentlemen-in-waiting ; her sole 
companion was her chaplain and confessor ; her only visitor 
a Florentine nobleman, who administered her property. 
When I mentioned Victor Emanuel she had difficulty in 
understanding who I meant ; and when I said I had come 
from Florence, she asked after the grand duke. I told 
her he had been at Vienna for more than a year, and as 
she made no sign for me to leave, I explained as well as 
I could that, by a plebiscite^ Tuscany had united herself to 
Piedmont, where her own family, the House of Savoy, still 
continued to reign. I saw that the word plebiscite was 
utterly unknown to her, and that she did not understand 
what I was talking about. She looked at me with astonish- 
ment, and then half closed her eyes, and clasped her hands 
as though in prayer. At last she rose and told me to 
thank her cousin, but she did not give me her hand to kiss. 
The demonstrations of joy which greeted Victor 
Emanuel in his new dominions found an echo in the 
south of Italy, and aroused the patriotic aspirations which 
had been crushed in Naples and Sicily by the implacable 
despotism of Ferdinand II. On his death, in the spring 
of 1859, the Liberal party took fresh heart, as the mother 
of his eldest son and heir Francis was Maria Christina of 
Savoy, another of the four daughters of Victor Emanuel I. 
On the strength of this. Count Cavour attempted to make 
a treaty of alliance between Piedmont and the young 
sovereign. He sent Count Ruggero di Salmour as am- 
bassador extraordinary to explain to Francis II. that he 
might free Italy from serious complications, and probably 



save his own throne, by allying himself with us. But 
Franceschiello, as he was called in Naples, refused to 
listen, and swore he would adhere to his father's form of 
government and policy. A few months later, when the 
revolution broke out, he sent one ambassador after another 
— first to Cavour and then to Victor Emanuel — to express 
his willingness to enter into a treaty of alliance, and even 
to grant a Constitution. But it was too late. King and 
minister were morally bound to Garibaldi. 

At Palermo a large body of Bourbon troops had 
quashed the revolution, the leaders of which were, oddly 
enough, saved and harboured by the monks of a large 
convent. But the impulse was given, and the whole south 
of Italy only wanted a vigorous leader to rise and declare 
for union under Victor Emanuel. Garibaldi had promised 
two of his friends — Nino Bixio, a Genoese, and Francesco 
Crispi,^ a Sicilian, ardent partisans of the unity of Italy — 
that when a favourable occasion came he would put him- 
self at the head of an expedition to liberate the southern 
provinces. But after the vote in April for the cession of 
Nice and Savoy, Garibaldi drew back. The two patriots, 
however, at last persuaded him to reconsider his decision ; 
although the official aid of the government was refused, 
he had reason to hope for their indirect assistance, and 
determined to act. The immediate result was the em- 
barkation at Quarto 2 of the 'Thousand,' on two boats 
seized by Bixio. The incidents of that adventurous 
expedition are well known. They necessitated our march 

^ Crispi, a Mazzinian Republican, had, it was said, accepted the idea of 
unity under Victor Emanuel, by the advice of Mazzini himself. Whilst keep- 
ing to his own opinions, Mazzini's passionate love and desire for unity induced 
him to permit his followers to abandon the form of government he preferred, 
rather than risk the formation of a united Italy. 

2 The splendid villa of Quarto, whence the Garibaldians started, once 
belonged to the Spinola family. Now it is the property of Signor Carrara, a 


across Umbria and the Marches, as triumphant, in its way, 
as that of Garibaldi. 

In the beginning of August the minister of war sent 
all the troops stationed in Piedmont to the Camps of In- 
struction on the Vauda of S. Maurice (Canavese), placing 
them under my command during the manoeuvres, which 
were to take place from the ist September to the 15th 
October. I took a villa near by, intending to receive 
all the superior officers, and the king announced his 
intention of assisting at the first sham fights. All was 
ready, when I received orders from the War Office to con- 
centrate my corps (the 5th) and start immediately for 
the Umbrian frontier, and with the 4th corps defend, so 
said the order, our frontiers menaced by the foreign 
legions of the Pope. At the same time (31st August) 
Fanti wrote me a private letter, containing these words : 
' Spread the report that we are concentrating our troops 
to quell the revolution, and, if necessary, to march on 

I cannot say this order surprised me. The rapid 
spread of the revolution in the kingdom of Naples, where 
the people greeted Garibaldi with enthusiasm, and the 
garrisons laid down their arms and joined his army, had 
been known for some days. Poor King Francis, betrayed 
by his relations, by his ministers, and by those he esteemed 
his most faithful servants, was about to leave Naples and 
take refuge in Gaeta with the remnant of his army, about 
fifty thousand men. 

Seeing the kingdom of Naples a prey to a double 
revolution, fanned by Mazzini on one hand and Garibaldi 
on the other, Cavour decided on throwing off the mask 
and openly assisting the latter. The time was propitious, 
but it was a perilous and decisive step to take. 

The king and Cavour took advantage of the presence 
of Napoleon III. in his new province of Savoy to send 


Farini and Cialdini, under pretext of complimenting him, 
to represent the terrible condition of Umbria and the 
Marches, exposed to the incessant depredations of the 
mercenary Papal troops. They were to obtain a promise 
from the emperor that the French garrison in Rome 
should not be permitted to assist Lamoriciere, and also 
to make sure that His Imperial Majesty would raise no 
obstacle to the entry of our troops into Umbria, or to the 
plebiscite of the people, who had asked to be annexed to 
the kingdom of Victor Emanuel. 

Napoleon, always favourable to the Italian cause, and 
at that moment under the impression of the brilliant 
reception accorded him in the provinces just ceded to 
France, promised to recognise the action of our govern- 
ment, provided the work was done quickly ; it was 
necessary that Europe should only know it as an accom- 
plished fact. The injunctions verbally made to our 
envoys were repeated in an autograph letter from the 
emperor to Victor Emanuel, which I saw: — ^ Allez, allze^ 
et surtout faites vite^ We went and we made quick work 
of it. 

I had orders from Fanti, Minister of War, and com- 
mander-in-chief of the expedition, to have my troops on 
the frontier by the loth September. He gave me full 
powers, and placed the railway at my command. Thanks 
to this, but still more to the excellent organisation intro- 
duced by Fanti himself, I was there before the date 
named. The mobilisation of my corps only took three 
days, and within a week thirty thousand men were on 
the frontier. 

I must confess that I was hurt and angry when Fanti, 
my junior, whose grades had been gained in foreign ser- 
vice, was named commander-in-chief of the expedition. 
I thought he might have joined the army, as minister of 
war, and left me the honour of directing the expedition. 


But I soon recognised his superiority and his great 
military intuition ; and during the whole campaign I took 
counsel with him on all essential matters. 

The 2d and 3d corps, under La Marmora and Durando, 
were entrusted with the defence of the kingdom, in case 
the Austrians attempted to take advantage of our south- 
ward march and attack us on the rear. 

On the 3d September I left Turin with my staff, and 
embarked at Genoa for Leghorn, where we arrived during 
the night of the 4th. Next evening we were at Florence, 
and on the 6th I left for Arezzo to reconnoitre the country 
while waiting for my troops, who, on account of the 
defective railway service, could only arrive on the 8th. 
Next day my corps — about eleven thousand men, the rest 
having been left to garrison Turin and Florence — was 
concentrated on the frontier, near Arezzo, where Fanti 
established his headquarters. 

Cialdini, in command of the 4th army corps, had 
received orders to concentrate his troops at Cattolica, 
between Pesaro and Rimini. He had two strong divisions, 
numbering about fourteen thousand men, and could also 
summon Cadorna to his aid, whose division was destined 
to reinforce whichever corps needed strengthening. Alto- 
gether we had about thirty-two thousand to thirty-three 
thousand men in five divisions. My numerical inferiority 
to Cialdini was blamed by some, as the 5th corps was 
likely to be the first to meet the enemy, and ought, people 
said, to be the strongest. But it was just in these disposi- 
tions that Fanti showed his intuition and military genius. 
He so completely deceived Lamoriciere as to our real 
intentions, that he abandoned his sole line of retreat in 
Umbria and concentrated his troops around Ancona, 
threatened by the 4th corps, leaving the road open for 
our rapid advance. Fanti also estimated that eleven 
thousand picked troops, such as I had, were more than 


sufficient to engage any number of mercenaries, even 
without the aid of Cadorna's division. 

The strategic plan for the 5 th corps was to avoid the 
narrow pass of Lake Thrasimene, march by Citta di 
Castello and Fratto on Perugia, and seize the fortress 
which commands the city. Once masters of Perugia, we 
were to proceed to Foligno, the centre of communication 
of the Papal States, and effect a junction with the 4th 
corps. From Foligno we could operate on Spoleto or 
Ancona, according to the movements of the enemy. 

On the 9th, Fanti sent a letter to Lamorici^re by 
Lieutenant Farini,^ informing him that he had orders to 
cross the frontier, if the manifestations in the cities of 
Umbria and the Marches in favour of annexation to the 
monarchy of Victor Emanuel were interfered with. 

Three days before, Cavour had written to Cardinal 
Antonelli, to announce that the people of the Marches 
and of Umbria had appealed to the King of Sardinia to 
defend them against the aggressions of the mercenary 
troops, who, in the name of the Pontifical government, 
threatened their lives and their honour. 

The reply given by Cardinal Antonelli may be im- 
agined. The Pontifical troops were not withdrawn, but 
were ordered to resist the invaders to the utmost. La- 
moriciere looked on Fanti's letter as a declaration of war, 
and replied that he was ready to defend himself. 

We crossed the frontier on the loth. On the nth I 
encamped near Monterchi, sending on the brigade of the 
Sardinian Grenadiers to Citta di Castello, which they 
entered at one o'clock, after a slight resistance at the 
city gates and the governor's palace by seventy-six 
gendarmes, who were taken prisoners. The rest of the 
troops entered the town next day amid the rejoicing of 
the inhabitants, who distributed refreshments among them 

^ Now President of the Senate. 


from a caf^ on the piazza, whose name had been changed 
during the night to Cafi General Delia Rocca. In a few 
hours we organised a grand ball in the municipal palace 
for the officers and gentry, and another on the piazza, in 
which the soldiers had permission to join. 

While part of the troops were dancing and amusing 
themselves, the Sardinian Grenadiers, the Bersaglieri, the 
artillery, and a squadron of cavalry advanced towards La 
Fratta, while the engineers and pioneers threw a bridge 
across the Tiber, near S. Maddalena. On the 13th the 
headquarters were at Pierantonio, whence I sent on 
General Maurice de Sonnaz with a column of the Sardinian 
Grenadiers, a squadron of the Nice cavalry, Bersaglieri and 
artillery to Bosco, in preparation for the morrow's attack on 
the fortress of Perugia. It was only defended by a few hun- 
dred Papal troops. General Schmidt being out reconnoitring 
with fifteen hundred men. Schmidt was the man who had 
been charged to quell the rising in Perugia during our 
campaign in June 1859, when the city first declared for 
annexation to the Constitutional kingdom of Victor 
Emanuel. He permitted his troops to commit every kind 
of atrocity, and was execrated by the inhabitants. His 
men were too tired to reach Perugia before us, but during 
the assault he managed to enter the fortress unseen. 

De Sonnaz had my orders to attack the city from 
above, and struck his camp early in the morning of the 
14th. He advanced to reconnoitre and pick up what in- 
formation he could from the inhabitants, as we possessed 
no topographical maps of any sort. On reaching the walls 
he decided to divide his troops into two divisions ; one was 
to enter the city by the gate of S. Antonio, the other by 
the gate of S. Margherita, and, protected from the fire of 
the fortress by the cathedral, attack the front and the 
exterior door of the citadel. Both city gates were closed 
and barred, but the former had been left unguarded, so the 


Perugians were able to open it and let in the first column. 
Major Pallavacini, with his battalion of Bersaglieri, rushed 
into the town, followed by three battalions of Grenadiers, 
a squadron of cavalry and a battery of artillery. They 
were received by a sharp musketry fire from the fortress. 
Major-General Camerana lost a good many men while 
crossing the piazza to take up a position on the opposite 
side. Detachments of the enemy in the streets leading t > 
the fortress were put to flight by our soldiers, who were 
fired upon from the windows of houses occupied by 
Schmidt's men. Aided by the inhabitants, we hunted 
them out, and making barricades of furniture and mat- 
tresses, which were offered without stint, at last became 
masters of all the surroundings of the citadel. 

In one street a shot from a window mortally wounded 
the handsome drum-major of the Grenadiers. Eyewitnesses 
swore that the shot came from the room of the parish priest, 
and was fired by him. A court-martial was immediately 
held, and sentence of death pronounced. The execution 
was, however, deferred to the next day, it being contrary 
to the rules of war to carry out a sentence during a siege. 

While the first column entered the gate of S. Antonio 
without difficulty, the second had to wait, under a heavy 
fire from the walls, at the gate of S. Margherita until the 
engineers and sappers came up to burst it open. They 
then rushed in, made some sixty prisoners in the 
barracks close by, and crossed the city in the direction 
of the gate of S. Pietro. Part of the troops were stationed 
in the public gardens opposite the citadel ; the others 
guarded the road to Foligno to prevent any attempt at 
flight. I left Pierantonio in the morning for Bosco with 
the rest of my troops, and, marching round the hill of 
Perugia, debouched on the Foligno road at the bridge of 
S. Giovanni. Towards mid-day De Sonnaz sent to inform 
me that Schmidt, with fifteen hundred men, reported to be 


well provided with artillery, had got into the fortress, and 
to ask for reinforcements. Fanti joined us at that moment, 
and approved of my resolve to start at once with the Lom- 
bard Grenadiers, under General Brignone, to the aid of De 
Sonnaz, and to send Colonel Ceresole with two squadrons 
down into the plain to cut off a possible retreat of the 
enemy towards Rome. Finding the gate of S. Pietro un- 
defended, we entered, ranged the troops in front of the 
church and convent of S. Pietro, and placed a battery of 
eight guns in readiness to bombard the citadel. All was 
quiet in the city, which made me think a parley was going 
on. I sent the head of my staff to see, and he returned 
with news that Schmidt, having found out that he had to 
do with regular troops, and not, as he supposed, with volun- 
teers, had asked for a suspension of arms with a view to 
capitulate. De Sonnaz had agreed, and for two hours had 
been discussing with two colonels sent by Schrnidt, who re- 
fused to accept the conditions drawn up previously by Fanti. 
In order to accelerate matters I galloped up the steep 
paved incline from S. Pietro to the cathedral piazza, and 
joined De Sonnaz and the Colonels De Curten and Lazzarini, 
sent by Schmidt, who did not venture to show himself in the 
town. Finding them intractable, I drew out my watch and 
said, ' It is now five ; if at five forty-five the citadel has not 
surrendered, I open fire from S. Pietro.' Then ordering De 
Sonnaz to retreat, I went back to my position. There I 
found Fanti, who had come with an aide-de-camp to know 
what had happened. He approved of my ultimatum, being 
anxious to come to a conclusion, as he had heard that 
Lamoriciere was hastening towards Ancona, and wanted to 
launch the 5th corps in pursuit. Cialdini, with the 4th 
corps, was to intercept him, and Fanti hoped to crush the 
mercenary troops between our two armies ; Cadorna, with 
his division, having meanwhile advanced towards Gubbio 
to reinforce the 4th corps. Time passed without any sign 


of surrender, and after looking at his watch several times 
the commander-in-chief gave the order to fire, and our 
eight guns did considerable damage to the fortress. Im- 
mediately afterwards De Sonnaz sent in hot haste to beg 
us to cease firing, as the citadel had capitulated. 

Fanti, De Sonnaz, I and some of our staffs entered the 
convent of S. Pietro, where the Colonels De Curten and 
Lazzarini soon joined us, with full powers from Schmidt. 
We asked the custodian to give us a room, which he 
declined to do, adding, that in any case we could not have ink 
or pens. * Really ! ' answered Fanti. ' Go to your superiors, 
and say that if a room is not opened at once, and pens, ink 
and paper provided, I shall call in a battalion of soldiers, 
who will know how to open doors and find what is neces- 
sary.' In a few minutes a room on the ground floor was 
opened for us, and paper, pens and ink were brought. The 
conditions of surrender were signed by De Sonnaz and the 
two Pontifical colonels in Schmidt's name. Thus, on the 
14th September i860, Perugia was avenged for the mal- 
treatment she received on the 20th June 1859 ^t the hands 
of Schmidt. He was made prisoner, and we sent him out 
of the town under a strong escort at night, as the people 
threatened to tear him to pieces. 

That same evening Fanti sent off part of the troops to 
Foligno, leaving a garrison at Perugia, and despatched 
General Brignone to take the fortress of Spoleto, defended 
by eight hundred Irish mercenaries. As the fortress com- 
mands the road to Rome, it was important for us to hold 
it to prevent reinforcements reaching the enemy. 

Just before leaving Perugia for Foligno with Fanti I 
met the detachment of soldiers with the condemned priest. 
A fine, tall man of about forty, he walked slowly but firmly, 
and never raised his eyes from his breviary. Although a 
gun, lately discharged, with the barrel still warm, was 
found in his room, he persisted in declaring that he had 


not fired the fatal shot, but declined to name the culprit. 
I should have liked to pardon him, but Fanti, although not 
more bloodthirsty than myself, thought an example was 
necessary in order to prevent a recurrence of such treachery. 
Some hours before, the Archbishop of Perugia (Cardinal 
Pecci), now Pope Leo XIII., sent to say he wished to see 
me, but as I had a shrewd suspicion what he wanted I 
excused myself on the plea of important business. The 
death of the priest was greeted with shouts of applause 
from the crowd, who remembered the atrocities of 1859 
and the oppression suffered since. 

Our march in pursuit of Lamoriciere was not accom- 
plished with the rapidity planned by Fanti. The excessive 
steepness of the road between Foligno and Colfiorito 
retarded the commissariat waggons and the artillery. The 
troops had to bivouac for a night and wait for them, which 
gave Lamoriciere the advantage of two marches over us. 

Having taken the fortress of Pesaro on the 12th, 
Cialdini made an admirably planned forced march on 
lesi and Osimo, positions which effectually barred the 
advance of the enemy towards Ancona. On the i6th 
he reached Castelfidardo and Le Crocette, where he met 
the Papal troops on the i8th and completely beat them. 
Nothing therefore remained for us (the 5th corps) but to 
besiege Ancona. I remember we met the courier from 
Rome to Tolentino, Macerata, etc., on the summit of the 
Apennines, and, according to the right, or at any rate the 
usage, of war, Fanti stopped the coach and seized the mails. 
We returned most of the letters to the bag, only keeping 
those which contained information which might be of use 
to us. Among them was one to Lamoriciere from a rich 
landowner at Macerata, offering to lodge and feed a portion 
of his troops on his farms, and placing his house and all it 
contained at his service. On arriving at Macerata, Fanti 
sent for this gentleman and informed him that a certain 


number of men would be quartered on his farms, and that 
he and his staff intended to lodge in his house. Lamoriciere's 
friend declared his farms were few and ill-provided, and his 
house small and quite unworthy to receive so great a 
general and his suite. Fanti suavely replied that he and 
his soldiers would be quite satisfied with what he could 
provide, and then handed him the letter intended for the 
Papal general. The poor man's face was a stud)' ! 

We had met fugitives from the Papal army at Tolentino, 
where we halted on the way to Macerata, among them 
several officers riding at full gallop. With some difficulty 
we succeeded in stopping one, and heard of the battle at 
Castelfidardo, which was probably still going on. 

On the 20th I entered Macerata, where I heard more 
details about the victory of Castelfidardo, and next day 
met Fanti at Loreto. Soon afterwards Cialdini joined us, 
and we started for Ancona to besiege the fortress. Cialdini 
was to invest it on the left side, I on the right, and the fleet 
had orders to assist our operations. 

My right wing rested on the high rocks overlooking the 
sea, my left extended down towards the Pia gate, where 
Cialdini had his headquarters. Fanti established his at 
the Favorita, near Castro, and I took up mine at the Villa 
Bosdari, on the heights of Monte Acuto. Opposite me 
were the two strong redoubts of Monte Pelago and Monte 
Pulito. We threw up batteries, and on the fourth day 
opened fire. On the 25th the enemy made a sortie to 
interrupt our work, but the Bologna brigade, which was 
at the outposts, drove them back under the lunette of fort 
Pelago. Here our men had to wait for reinforcements in 
order to surround the position. Soon afterwards the Bersa- 
glieri came up, and the enemy were driven back at the point 
of the bayonet. The flag of the Bologna brigade was planted 
on the conquered positions of Monte Pelago and Monte 
Pulito, which the enemy in vain attempted to wrest from us. 


A large number of Papal troops were in the Gardetto 
fort, which my corps attacked on the 2^th, supported by 
the fire of the fleet, whose shells passed over our heads. 
At the same time Cialdini made a feint attack in another 
direction to draw off part of the enemy's forces. The day 
— a brilliant one for our navy and our army — ended with a 
tremendous explosion ; a dense cloud of smoke, torn by 
long tongues of flame, rose into the sky. A shell had 
exploded in the powder magazine. Soon afterwards a 
white flag ran up on the citadel where Lamoriciere was, 
and firing ceased on both sides, only to recommence at 
eight in the evening, as he demurred to our conditions. I 
ordered Colonel Ferrero, with the 4th Lombard regiment, 
to occupy the suburbs during the night with three 
battalions and two guns, and destroy the Calamo gate, 
which would admit me into the fortifications. He reached 
the gate, but unfortunately one of his guns burst, which 
somewhat retarded operations. Next morning the capi- 
tulation was signed, and the inhabitants tore down 
the battered remains of the gate to let my men in. I 
telegraphed to Fanti for permission to enter Ancona, and 
at five in the afternoon marched in with my staff at the 
head of the 4th Grenadier regiment, destined to garrison 
the citadel. The same evening the 12th regiment of 
Bersaglieri and the marines joined me, and on the 30th 
the 4th corps entered the town with Generals Fanti and 
Cialdini at their head. 

The king arrived off Ancona in the Maria Adelaide 
on the 3d October, and after reviewing the troops by the 
seashore, rode to the government palace, where he spent 
twenty-four hours in listening to our reports and to those 
of the government commissioners. Then he despatched 
Fanti and Cialdini to Turin to consult with Cavour, and 
during their absence confided the command of the army 
to me. I was also charged to prepare an itinerary for 


the march of the two corps to Isernia on the crest of 
the Apennines. 

His Majesty took up his residence on the hill outside 
the Pia gate, and as I was perpetually backwards and 
forwards between my headquarters and his villa, I met 
the Countess Mirafiore, whom I had not seen for years. 
Though she had been living fourteen years with the king, 
and must have been thirty, she looked wonderfully young 
and had not lost her beauty. But she dressed very badly 
in a theatrical style. I remember one morning the king 
made me stay for lunch, as he had not finished signing 
the orders for the day, and Rosina appeared in a volumin- 
ous and immensely long sort of dressing-gown, with a 
diadem of brilliants on her head, strings of pearls, reach- 
ing to her waist, round her neck, and her arms and fingers 
covered with jewels. I was no favourite of hers, and she 
showed it ; for though I knew her as a girl I had never 
been near her since she became the king's mistress. But 
Rosina was not a bad or intriguing woman, never tried to 
injure me, and I do not believe she ever did an ill-natured 
thing to anyone. 

On the return of Fanti and Cialdini the king expressed 
his sorrow at not being able to keep me as his chief of 
the staff. Having taken over the supreme command of 
the army, he felt bound to give Fanti the position I had 
filled in 1848 and 1859. Policy, or rather Cavour, who, 
since Villafranca, had borne me a grudge, thus ordered it. 
But with his usual kindness Victor Emanuel arranged that 
my corps should march with him. Only long afterwards 
I learnt that, seeing I disliked Cavour's idea of leaving 
me in command of the troops in Umbria and the Marches, 
instead of taking an active part in the Neapolitan cam- 
paign, the king had insisted on my retaining the command 
of the 5th corps, which was under his direct orders. 


PUbiscite at Sulmona — Immorality of the Neapolitans — Garibaldi at Capua — 
His Noble Conduct — Siege and Capitulation of Capua — Garibaldi 
Dictator of Naples — Victor Emanuel enters Naples — Miracle of San 
Gennaro — Mazzini and the two Dumas'. 

From Terni I rode with a small escort across the Nea- 
politan frontier to Citta Ducale, and thence to Antrodoco. 
On the 20th October I was at Aquila, where everything 
was quiet. Popoli, which I reached late in the evening, 
was crowded with the military train of my corps and 
with commissariat waggons. Groups of volunteers on 
their way to join Garibaldi were shouting, singing and 
drinking success to Italy in every street. At daylight 
I started for Sulmona, and wishing to see the voting 
for the plebiscite, entered the town on foot. The crowd 
was extraordinary, and nearly every man had a bit of 
paper with a big Si (Yes) stuck in his hatband ; very 
few bore a No. I was watching the scene, when screams 
and angry shouts of ' Death to the Bourbons ! ' ' Long 
live Victor Emanuel ! ' ' Hurrah for Italy ! ' arose, and 
I saw an officer of our carabineers attempting to protect 
a Neapolitan general from the fury of the people. Seeing 
the officer would not be able to save his prisoner, I made 
a rush with my two aides-de-camp through the crowd. 
' Save me! save me!' cried the poor wretch; 'these madmen 
want to kill me.' Cigala and Gianotti placed themselves 
on either side of the general, while I harangued the crowd, 



telling them that no barbarous action should be committed 
in the name of Victor Emanuel and of Italy, that the laws 
of civilised nations commanded prisoners to be respected, 
and that no one would be allowed to hurt a man who 
was in our hands. I had hardly finished speaking, when a 
ruffianly-looking fellow came up to me and said, ' Who are 
you, to mix yourself up in our concerns ? ' 'I am General 
Delia Rocca, commanding one of the corps d^armee^ who 
have come to liberate you,' I answered. The names of 
Fanti, Cialdini, and Delia Rocca, were probably known 
through the newspapers, for as soon as I pronounced my 
name the crowd began to cheer, 'Long live Delia Rocca!' 
' Long live Fanti ! ' ' Long live Cialdini ! ' My aide-de- 
camp Cigala conducted the Bourbon general, a certain 
Scotti Douglas of Parma, whom Cialdini had taken 
prisoner on the Apennines, half fainting to the barracks 
of the carabineers, whence he was sent to Piedmont, and, 
I believe, soon set at liberty. 

From Sulmona I went to join the king at Castel di 
Sangro, and heard His Majesty had been received every- 
where with enthusiasm. At Isernia, where we arrived 
on the 2 2d, a council of war was held. It was decided 
to advance on Naples, which had been abandoned by 
King Francis and immediately occupied by Garibaldi 
in conjunction with our troops. Naples was to be our 
new base, and our line of operations the Garigliano. I 
was to take Capua, which intercepted our advance on 
Naples, while the king, with the 4th corps and the chief 
part of mine, marched towards the Garigliano in search 
of the Bourbon army. Owing to inexact information 
given by prisoners as to the strength of the garrison at 
Capua, and counting on the aid of the Garibaldians, who 
had been for nearly a month investing the place, I only 
took a few battalions. At Teano I separated from our 
main body, turning off on the road to Alife. Soon after- 


wards the king met the Bourbon troops, and defeated 
them after three hours' fighting.^ 

Between Venafro and Alife I met General Garibaldi 
and his aide-de-camp in search of the king. I put him 
in the right direction, and heard afterwards that he found 
Victor Emanuel at Quadriglia, and for the first time 
saluted him enthusiastically as King of Italy, 

At Alife the bishop, an excellent, high-minded man, 
came to see me. He belonged to the Liberal section of 
the Neapolitan clergy, who hoped that a new govern- 
ment might sweep away the corruption and abuses which 
had infested the country for centuries. We talked for 
more than an hour, and I remember my astonishment 
when, among other things, he said, 'You will easily 
beat the Neapolitan army, the soldiers are cowards, they 
have no backbone ; but you will find it difificult to over- 
come the immorality of the Neapolitans, particularly of 
a great part of the clergy. I have lived in the south for 
more than twenty years, and sad experience has taught 
me how little one can do for their amelioration, even 
by incessant work. You will not really conquer the 
Neapolitans until you succeed in teaching them the holy 
truth of moral order, and, I warn you, that will take 
time and labour.' I heard afterwards that the good 
bishop had talked in the same sense to the king and 
to Farini, insisting on the necessity of reforming the 
universal immorality of all classes of the population. 

^ He wrote to me : — 

' Teano, inth Oct. i860. 

'MoN CHER General, — Hier soir j'ai trouv^ I'ennemi en force a moiti^ 
route, entre Teano et Sessa, sur les hauteurs. Le combat dura trois heures, 
I'ennemi fut repousse k Sessa, je crois en retraite vers le Garigliano. II avait 
seize bataillons de chasseurs et, je crois, grande partie on toute I'armee. Les 
prisonniers m'assurent n'y avoir en Capoue qu'un regiment et un bataillon. 
Portez vous aussit6t sur cette ville . . . et tachez de la faire rendre au plus 
t6t, ceci est tres important pour notre politique tres tendue. 

' Tenez moi au courant de tout. Je vous embrasse. — Votre tres aflfectionne, 

* Victor Emanuel.' 


On the 28th October I arrived at Santa Maria (di 
Capua). Immediately after the victory of Volturno, in the 
beginning of the month, Garibaldi, with about thirty thou- 
sand men, called the Southern Army {Esercito Meridionale\ 
had surrounded Capua, but, lacking artillery, was able to 
do nothing. They were stationed at Santa Maria, at 
Caserta, at Avellino, and on the road called Formicola, on 
the right bank of the Volturno. After going over the 
lines fronting the fortifications of the town, I went to 
Monte Sant' Angelo, where Garibaldi had established 
himself. He told me the king had informed him of the 
orders given to me, and added, ' My opinion is that in 
war unity of command is indispensable.' I had expected 
some such objection, and it never entered my head to 
claim the supreme command of his troops; still, it was 
impossible for me, in spite of my respect and admiration, 
to serve under him. I therefore answered that while 
surveying the lines of attack I had seen the positions of 
his troops on the heights to the right of the fortress and 
on part of the narrow plain on the slopes, and had come 
to the conclusion that, if I occupied the plain to the left, we 
could work together with good results and without inter- 
fering with each other. He listened in silence, and after 
some minutes said, ' If not inconvenient to you, we can 
meet again to-day between four and five, and I will give 
you my answer.' A little before five I was at his quarters, 
and found the Dictator surrounded by all his generals — 
Cosenz, Medici, Sirtori, etc. Garibaldi introduced us, 
saying I had been charged by the king to besiege Capua 
and take the fortress without loss of time ; and that, being 
averse to any division of command, he placed the whole 
of his army under my control for this undertaking. But, 
fearing lest his volunteers might raise difficulties if this 
were known, he wished them to believe that he was still 
in their midst. * I therefore beg,' he continued, ' General 


Delia Rocca and all of you to keep this secret. General 
Sirtori, in whom I have absolute confidence, will transmit 
the orders of General Delia Rocca to my men, as though 
they came from me. I am called to Naples on urgent 
business relating to the Dictatorship, but shall be ready 
to return at once should my presence be necessary.' He 
then shook my hand and wished me good luck. Every- 
thing being thus satisfactorily arranged, I sent my head 
of the staff to General De Corne, commanding in Capua, 
with a letter informing him that I had orders to take the 
fortress, and enough troops to do it with. Resistance being 
useless, I invited him to surrender in order to save the 
town and its inhabitants the horrors of a siege. Mean- 
while, with Meneabrea and Colonel Bottacco of the 
artillery, I chose the places for establishing the batteries. 
These were begun the same night, General De Corne 
having refused to surrender. 

Having only batteries of sixteen, I sent to Naples for 
heavier guns. Twenty-four hours later Valfre, commander- 
in-chief of the artillery, arrived himself with twenty heavy 
pieces, and in less than three days they were in position. 
Just as we were firing the first shots to get the range, the 
king, impatient for an answer to a letter he had written 
from Sessa,^ rode up, accompanied by only one aide-de- 

1 ' Sessa, le 31 Octobre, i860. 
' MoN CHER Macigno,* — Donnez-moi des nouvelles exactes de Capua, 
et dites moi quand vous croyez que cela sera fait ; plus ce cera vite, mieux 
9a sera. En attendant, avant hier on m'a fait une betise. Je donnais I'ordre 
a . . . de reconnaitre le Garigliano, lui, croyant bien faire, s'avanfa vers le 
pont avec trois regiments de cavalerie, quatre bataillons de Bersaglieri et deux 
batteries sans me le dire. Aussit6t le feu s'engagea avec deux bataillons de 
chasseurs qui etaient de ce cote-ci du pont, et la cavalerie, portee tres en 
avant, fut fortement mitraillee. En entendant le feu, je me portals sur place 
avec Sonnaz, mais c'etait trop tard, c'etait le bon de Taction. Les Napolitains 
de I'autre c6te du fleuve faisaient un feu d'enfer, je donnais I'ordre de retirer 
les troupes, chose desagreable, mais necessaire : on avait deja tu6 et blesse 

• Granite — a play upon General Delia Rocca's {rock) name. 


camp, running some risk of being taken a prisoner. With 
my habitual frankness I told His Majesty that his presence 
at that moment was very inconvenient, and after asking 
me how long I thought the siege would last, and receiving 
my assurance that, although the garrison consisted of 
several thousand men instead of a few hundred, as we had 
been informed, in three days Capua would be ours, he 
shook hands and rode off. Heavy firing began at 4 p.m. 
on the 1st November, to which the fortress replied. To- 
wards evening I was forced to slacken fire for want of 
ammunition, and only sent two or three bombs an hour 
during the night. Some of these burst in the town, and, 
among other buildings, set fire to the palace of the bishop, 
who immediately went to the commandant and advised 
him to surrender. Before six in the morning of the 2d 
November two superior officers came to my headquarters ; 

35 hommes du septieme bataillon, 5 officiers, et pris du m^me bataillon 30 
prisonniers qui b^tement s'etaient pouss^s de I'autre c6t6 du pont, croyant de 
devoir le prendre et qui furent entoures. Une 20. ne de chevaux de Piemont 
Royal y resterent. Dans la retraite les chasseurs Napolitains repasserent le 
pont et nous suivirent un peu et puis s'arreterent. Maintenant leurs avant 
postes sont plus pr^s de nous, nous n'avons pas encore pu faire de pont. 
Celui de Gaiazzo n'est pas arrive, nous avions combine avec la marine d'en 
faire un k I'embouchure du Garigliano, mais I'Amiral fran9ais vient se mettre 
en bataille en face de nos navires, et declare les couler a fond si on tire un 
coup de canon, et si on met le pont. Je suis sur que c'est de son cru, car 
I'empereur n'a pas de ces idees ; aussi je viens d'ecrire une lettre plus qu' 
energique que Persano lui enverra. Entr' autres choses I'Amiral dit que le 
Garigliano fait partie de la place de Gaete, et que lui se trouverait avec la 
flotte entre deux feux, de la place et les nOtres, lorsqu'il y a 14 kilometres 
entre la place et nous. On dit que c'est un ami de Lamoriciere. C. . . . est 
celui qui a eu le plus de tort dans I'aifaire de I'autre jour, car il a fait 
mitrailler la cavalerie, et a ordonne aux Bersaglieri de passer le pont oil 
il n'y avait qu'une planche oui et une non. J'ai donne perruque k tout le 

'L'ennemi est en force de 45,000 hommes de I'autre c6te et quantite 

' Demain nous verrons si on peut faire mieux et passer en faisant mettre un 
pont 6 milles plus haut. 

'Je vous embrasse. — Votre tres affectionne, Victor Emanuel.* 


one, a General Liguori, asked me for a free pass for Gaeta 
in order to consult with King Francis. I explained the 
impossibility of granting such an extraordinary request, 
showed him the very easy conditions of surrender I had 
already drawn up, and advised him to return to his 
commanding officer and induce him to accept them. 
Firing had been stopped on their arrival, and I gave the 
general till nine o'clock to bring me an affirmative answer. 
As the clock struck nine I sent my aide-de-camp to order 
the batteries to open fire, and directly afterwards Liguori 
arrived in hot haste and accepted my conditions. The 
garrison, eleven thousand five hundred strong, were fine 
men and well dressed. They could not conceal their 
satisfaction at the cessation of hostilities and danger, and 
were sent to Naples with their families, about five thousand 
old men, women and children. The Bourbons favoured 
matrimony in their army, and gave rations to the soldiers' 

Garibaldi said, when he left on the evening of the 
28th October, * I am going to Caserta, but to-morrow shall 
be at Naples, where I have much to do.' On the 30th 
I heard he was still at Caserta, and ill ; so, while the 
engineers were working at the batteries, I rode over to see 
him. With his usual simplicity in private life, he had 
declined to inhabit the palace at Caserta, and I found him 
in a little room above the guardhouse at the entrance. 
On dismounting, I observed several barrels of powder, and 
when I entered the room of the Dictator noticed his bed 
was exactly over the spot where the powder had been 
placed. I begged him to move immediately; and, smiling, 
he promised to do so. Propped up with pillows, he was 
wrapped in a military cloak, a little cap on his head, and a 
silk handkerchief knotted round his neck. As I entered, 
he held out his hand, and seemed quite touched when I told 
him I had only come to ask how he was. He was still 


more pleased when I told him how well I got on with 
his generals, Cosenz and Sirtori, notable personages and 
most excellent men, and how I regretted the enforced 
absence of Bixio, who had been sent to hospital in Naples 
owing to a fall from his horse. Mine were no idle com- 
pliments ; I meant what I said, and I saw Garibaldi was 
pleased that I appreciated his friends. 

As soon as the capitulation was signed I sent off 
my aide-de-camp. Cigala, to Garigliano with a note to 
the king. When he had read it, he exclaimed, ' Capua 
is ours ! Hurrah for La Rocca ! ' ' Hurrah ! Hurrah ! 
Long live La Rocca ! ' was repeated by all his staff. 
The king asked for a pencil, and sent me a note 
ordering all the guns taken at Capua to be sent to him, 
and bidding me go to Naples and take over the com- 
mand there. 

I confess that I was delighted, but not astonished, at the 
description Cigala gave me of the reception of my news, 
for I knew that in the small military Court circle of Victor 
Emanuel I was liked and esteemed. But lately, in the 
Memoirs {Ricordi) of General Gen ova Revel, I see it is 
broadly hinted that I opposed Fanti about the disbanding 
of the Garibaldians, and suggested to the king to be over- 
indulgent towards the Southern Army to the detriment of 
the regular army. Fanti, as minister of war, foresaw the 
disorders and annoyances which the volunteers might cause 
when the war was over, and very properly advised the 
king to disband them at once. Victor Emanuel, knowing 
that it would grieve Garibaldi, whose great services and 
perfect loyalty and generosity he fully recognised, was 
averse to such prompt action. I well remember his saying 
to me, * They are in too great a hurry ; they make me cut a 
sorry figure. I cannot show less generosity than Garibaldi.' 
These were entirely personal impressions of the king's, and 
suggested by no one. But having a strong admiration for 


Garibaldi, who had behaved so well and nobly to me at 
Capua, I certainly could not combat them. 

Before leaving Capua I went over the citadel, and in 
the prison found and set at liberty Arrivabene, the cor- 
respondent of the Morning Post. He had been taken by 
the Bourbons during the battle of Volturno and imprisoned 
as a spy. On the 4th November I left for Naples, with 
rather a perturbed mind. It was all very well for the king 
to tell me to go there and take the command. At Naples 
there was a Dictator, Garibaldi ; a pro-Dictator, George 
Pallavicino ; General Tiirr, and several other commanders 
of large bodies of troops, all men of note. For me to 
arrive, perhaps without having been officially announced, 
and say, ' Here I am, now you can all go,' was no easy 
task. I could only do as I had done before — trust in the 
star of Victor Emanuel. Garibaldi was at dinner with 
twenty-five guests, and I sent in to beg him not to leave 
them, as I would wait to give him a message from the 
king. In a few minutes the Dictator appeared, and, 
taking me by the hand, presented me to those who had 
followed him into the drawing-room — ' Gentlemen, I pre- 
sent General Delia Rocca, who only took three days to 
besiege and conquer Capua.' After a few complimentary 
words, I drew Garibaldi aside, and said, ' To-night my 
troops arrive from Capua with eleven thousand five hun- 
dred men of the Bourbon garrison ; barracks and forts 
must be ready for them.' ' I understand, of course,' he 
answered, ' room must be found ; tell me where you live.' 
* Close to you, in the royal palace ; but my headquarters 
will be in the palace of the Prince of Capua ; and now I 
am going to dine at the Calata del Gigante.' ' Very well, 
in half an hour General Tiirr, who was in command of the 
city during my absence, will be with you. He will tell 
you where the troops can be lodged, and will place himself 
at your disposal, in case you wish him to superintend their 


billeting.' General Tiirr joined me soon afterwards, and 
I asked him to dine with me. We arranged everything ; 
and I accepted the command of the city handed over to 
me by the orders of the Dictator. 

Thus all was settled without the slightest difficulty, 
and with the simple cordiality of brothers-at-arms. I did 
not even produce Fanti's order, countersigned by Victor 
Emanuel, which I had with me. 

On the 7th November the king entered Naples. He 
arrived an hour before the appointed time ; but part of the 
troops were drawn up in the streets he was to drive 
through, and, luckily, I got to the station in time to accom- 
pany him. It was raining hard, and the royal carriages 
were not to be seen, so the king entered a large tent, 
where he received the government officials and the officers 
of the municipality. When at last the royal carriage drove 
up, Victor Emanuel invited Garibaldi to sit by his side. 
The Dictator, dressed in his usual red shirt, grey cloak 
and small cap, was wet through. Opposite them sat 
Pallavicino, pro-Dictator of Naples, and Mordini, pro-Dic- 
tator of Sicily. I rode on the right hand of the king, with 
my drawn sword. 

All the clergy, with the exception of the archbishop, 
who was at Gaeta, received Victor Emanuel with great 
pomp at the door of the cathedral. After a solemn Te 
Deum had been sung, the king and his suite went into the 
chapel of San Gennaro, where, after the miracle had taken 
place, the holy relic was given him to kiss. A few days 
before the question was discussed, Victor Emanuel asked 
me what I should do in his place. ' I should inaugurate 
the new era of things by showing respect to religion and 
the church, but I should abolish superstition.' He was 
very much of my opinion ; but Farini and several other 
members of the government said that, the miracle having 
taken place when Garibaldi visited the chapel, there would 


be great risk of setting the clergy and the common people 
against the king if he declined to go through the cere- 
mony. So he determined to bow to their opinion, and to 
kneel before the miraculous phial. The suite of the king 
not having reached the cathedral as soon as ourselves, I 
dismounted to accompany His Majesty, but his aides-de- 
camp appearing just as he was entering the chapel of San 
Gennaro, I was enabled to retire and remount my horse 
outside. In spite of the heavy rain, there was tremendous 
enthusiasm when the king drove to the royal palace. 

After the state dinner that evening, Victor Emanuel 
took Garibaldi into his study, and they remained talking 
for a long time. His Majesty told me that the Dictator, 
speaking about the great difficulties of governing the Two 
Sicilies, had suggested and offered to remain as viceroy, 
if not as dictator, for some time longer, in order to use his 
popularity for the good of Italy. He sincerely thought 
that his influence, especially in Sicily, was so great that 
he would have more chance of success than the govern- 
ment of the king. Victor Emanuel listened without giving 
any opinion, and said he would give an answer after con- 
sulting Farini and the members of the government who 
were at Naples. Fanti and Farini naturally opposed any 
such arrangement, and they were right. Garibaldi was 
sincere and honest, but he suffered himself to be sur- 
rounded and led by persons whose only desire was to 
detach the south from the north and create a Republic, 
among them was Mazzini, who, in the neighbourhood of 
Caserta, was trying, through his partizans and emissaries, 
to foment disorder and insubordination, particularly among 
the young officers of both armies. 

After the plebiscite^ Mazzini did not go into voluntary 
exile, as modern writers affirm. He remained at Naples, 
and with the Garibaldians who had been, or were to be, 
disbanded ; the brigands, and the two Alexandre Dumas' 


(father and son) gave me a world of trouble and annoy- 
ance. The elder Dumas had taken possession of a villa 
which, he pretended, the Dictator had given to him. He 
lived there with an actress of I forget what theatre, and his 
son and Mazzini often stayed with him. A clever police 
agent, charged to watch the agitator, and who knew how 
dangerous he was, proposed to get rid of him in a way which 
would appear perfectly natural, and have saved the govern- 
ment many an anxious moment. It would have been a 
criminal act, and I refused to sanction it. I contented myself 
with having him closely watched and traversing his designs, 
and, after a time, he momentarily disappeared from the scene. 

The king only refused the offers of Garibaldi after the 
official presentation of the //^1^2V«V^ on the 8th November. 
On the same day the rank of a general in the army, the 
Collar of the Annunziata, and a considerable pension was 
offered to Garibaldi ; but he refused everything. Con- 
sidering himself still as Dictator, he made a large number 
of promotions and appointments, and demanded the Collar 
of the Annunziata for Pallavicino and for Mordini. The 
king had already determined to give it to the former, not 
so much for his services under Garibaldi as for his splendid 
patriotism and the sufferings undergone at Spielberg for 
the Italian cause, for which he had spent the greater part 
of his large fortune. 

Late in the afternoon the king informed Garibaldi his 
councillors disapproved of his offers, and that, to his regret, 
he must refuse them. Neither anger nor disappointment 
was shown by Garibaldi, who, the same evening, published 
a proclamation to the Italian people, calling them to rise 
in the following spring and complete the unity of Italy by 
liberating Rome and Venice. He then embarked for 
Caprera with a few of his immediate adherents. 

Next day, 9th November, Farini was appointed 
Viceroy of the Two Sicilies by the king. 


Victor Emanuel impatient for the Fall of Gaeta — He induces me to 
accept the Military Command of the Two Sicilies — Prince Eugene 
of Carignano Viceroy of Kingdom of Naples — Brigandage — Bribery 
— Death of Cavour. 

I MUST confess that my impressions of the inhabitants of 
Naples during the first weeks I passed there were most 
unfavourable. Later, when I made friends with many 
excellent men, born and educated in the southern provinces, 
among my colleagues in the Senate and in the army, they 
were modified. Among these was Poerio, the type of 
everything that was great and noble. 

The king and the government were impatient for Gaeta 
to fall ; they wished the capitulation to take place before 
His Majesty left for Turin. Ancona and Capua had 
accustomed Victor Emanuel to quick and successful opera- 
tions, and he did not take the far greater obstacles, chiefly 
owing to the presence of King Francis and the royal 
family at Gaeta, into account. Matters were also com- 
plicated by the uncertain and hesitating conduct of 
Napoleon III., who maintained a French fleet in the waters 
of Gaeta, which prevented any action being taken by our 
ships. One morning the king said he should send me to 
hasten the siege ; but I declared it would be impossible to 
supplant Cialdini, and declined any such mission. A few 
days later he again broached the subject, proposing to 



charge Cialdini with the amalgamation of the three armies, 
Sardinian, Neapolitan and Garibaldian — and give him the 
supreme command in southern Italy. * I know and I like 
Cialdini ! ' I exclaimed, ' and I am sure he would be hurt 
and would accept nothing until he has taken Gaeta.' The 
matter then dropped for the moment. 

Meanwhile, it became imperative to reorganise the 
army. Among the many decrees brought from Turin by 
Fanti for the king to sign was one naming me president 
of the commission to reform and weed the Garibaldian 
army : a perfect hornets' nest to be put into ! However, 
the commission only met once in Naples, when I read the 
royal decree of nth November i860, granting six months' 
pay to the officers and soldiers of the Southern Army. A 
discussion arose as to whether those who had no regular 
nominations from General Garibaldi ought to profit by 
this decree ; by far the greater number of officers were in 
this category, and it was decided to give them only three 
months' pay. Such protests and difficulties were, however, 
raised by the Garibaldians, who were in Naples, that the 
new ministry, the last one formed by Cavour, decreed the 
transfer of the commission to Turin. 

One day Fanti met me and said, ' Let me be the first 
to congratulate you.' ' What for ? ' I answered. ' The king 
has named you to the military command of the kingdom 
of the Two Sicilies ; it is a splendid position, one of the 
first, if not the first, in the new kingdom.' ' I am much 
obliged to His Majesty,' I replied, ' but, to tell you the truth, 
I have no wish for such a post ; and when the war is over, 
my only desire is to return to where and what I was.' I was 
fully resolved only to give my services in the southern 
provinces temporarily, and to resign sooner than take up 
my residence there. As the king said nothing to me, I 
held my tongue, but determined to speak frankly to him 
next morning. Very early, before I was dressed, he sent 


for me, and at once asked why I had been so out of temper 
the day before. ' For many reasons,' I answered ; ' and as 
your Majesty is good enough to ask me, I will tell you them.' 
Repeating Fanti's words, I reminded him that early in the 
year I had repeatedly refused the command offered until 
I knew war to be imminent. ' I think I have done my 
duty,' I added, 'and been of some service to the Italian 
cause ; but in time of peace my only wish is to remain with 
your Majesty. As first aide-de-camp, I can follow and 
serve your Majesty in the field, and be near you in time 
of peace.' 

After a moment's silence the king came up to me, and 
taking my hands, said he was as jealous of my military 
reputation as I could be, and would never permit me to 
leave the service, but that for his sake I must undertake to 
arrange military affairs in the southern provinces, and 
accept for the moment the military command of the ex- 
kingdom of the Two Sicilies. I promised him to do my 
best, on condition that the government sent me men and 
money when I required them. This condition was not 
kept, as will be seen hereafter. 

The king passed Christmas at Naples, and left for 
Turin on the 26th December. Soon afterwards Prince 
Eugene of Carignano came as viceroy, and occupied the 
state rooms of the royal palace. Thanks to his gracious 
manners and his generosity, he was very popular at Naples. 
To me he was always kindness itself, and overwhelmed 
my family, who lived on the second floor of the palace, 
with attentions. I was so busy that, with the exception of 
state dinners, when my wife, as lady-in-waiting to the late 
queen, was asked to receive the wives and daughters of the 
guests, I declined all invitations. The Southern Army, 
i.e.^ the volunteers, gave me plenty of work, and the re- 
actionary party was busy in various districts of the ex- 
kingdom. The country was infested with armed bands. 


augmented by malcontents and men out of work, led by 
a few officers of the Bourbon army, or by discredited 
Garibaldians, such as La Monaco, who stirred up disorders 
in Sicily. Outbreaks occurred in various places, and I had 
to divide and sub-divide my troops in order to protect the 
inhabitants. After the departure of the king things grew 
worse. The greater part of the troops were engaged at 
the siege at Gaeta, or in Sicily under Brignone, and I 
applied in vain to the ministry for reinforcements. The 
brigands were so numerous, and so many were shot, that 
orders came from Turin to execute only the chiefs. My 
officers, realising the necessity of capital punishment in cer- 
tain districts where it was only possible to govern by fear, 
telegraphed, ' four, five, six armed brigand chiefs arrested in 
such a place ' ; to which I replied, ' Shoot them.' After a 
time Fanti, struck by the extraordinary number of chiefs, 
sent orders that they were not to be shot, but taken 
prisoners. Prisons and barracks were soon insufficient 
to contain the prisoners ; and, after the capture of 
Gaeta, the disbanded Bourbon soldiers and the volun- 
teers, who had spent what money they had, joined the 

Disorder was also rife in Naples. Mazzini made his 
appearance, wearing the Garibaldian uniform, and sent his 
agents into the provinces to stir up discontent in the army. 
This I knew from a letter to the police which was com- 
municated to me. He was carefully watched, and soon 
afterwards disappeared for the second time. Then the 
government, in spite of my reiterated demands, did not 
send money from Turin for the monthly pay of the troops 
and the Garibaldian volunteers, who made a row outside 
the gates of the Treasury. I wrote to Fanti and to Cavour 
for money and reinforcements, without any result ; the only 
consolation I had was that the disgust of the Prince of 
Carignano equalled my own. He threatened to return 


to Turin and let them give the vice-royalty to anyone 
who would accept it. At last I had the following letter 
from Cavour in January: — 

'Dear La Rocca, — . . . After some trouble, I have 
at last induced Fanti to send you a brigade. I hope they 
will embark on the frigate which is expected from Naples ; 
make the most of them. I must beg, however, that you 
will not leave Sicily without help in case of any serious 
disturbances in the island. 

* After much negotiation I have come to an understand- 
ing with the emperor. The whole fleet will leave on the 
19th, and on the 20th we shall be free to attack the place 
(Gaeta) from land and sea. 

' I am not afraid of the reactionary movement, or of the 
help afforded to it by France. I am used to a double 
current from Paris. Rondon, the minister of war, is most 
useful to us. His orders must come from a Bourbon 
source. But, once the fleet is withdrawn, I hope the be- 
haviour of the French soldiers will undergo a change. In 
any case, it is useless to worry about it. 

* Fanti has also decided to summon the Garibaldian 
and Neapolitan officers here. I shall do all I can to assist 
you in this arduous matter. I know I can rely on your 
firmness and shrewdness. The prince is well disposed ; 
Nigra ^ is clever. Working well together, you will succeed 
in restoring order in the kingdom ' (of Naples). ' It will be 
an immense service rendered to Italy. . . . Adieu. 

'C. Cavour.' 2 

^ Secretary of State to the Prince of Carignano, who was beginning his 
brilliant diplomatic career under the auspices of Cavour. — Translator's Note. 

"^ 'Caro La Rocca, — . . . Ho deciso non senza fatica Fanti a spedirti 
una brigata. Spero imbarcarla sulle fregate che aspetto da Napoli ; fanne 
buon pro'. Ti raccommando pero, in caso di disordini gravi in Sicilia, di 
non lasciare I'isola senza aiuti. 

*Dopo infinite pratiche sono giunto ad intendermela con I'lmperatore. 


The brigade sent by Fanti was that of Pisa, small and 
badly commanded. Fortunately troops were not needed 
in Sicily ; but I considered the reinforcement insufficient, 
and asked in vain for others. My discontent was aug- 
mented by the conduct of the minister of war, who 
suspended General Pinelli and sent General Mezzacapo 
in his stead, without consulting me, and made him inde- 
pendent of my command. I sent in my resignation, but 
the king refused to accept it. The temporary suspension 
of Pinelli, who was doing excellent service against the 
brigand and Papal troops in the Abruzzi, was rendered 
necessary by a violent proclamation he published after 
falling into a trap laid by the Communal Council of a 
reactionary village. He actually called the Head of the 
Church, ' that clerical vampire, who for centuries has sucked 
the blood of our mother with his foul lips.' 

On the 14th February our troops entered Gaeta. Early 
in the same month there was a revolt among the convicts 
employed in the harbour. This was to be expected, 
because, after the departure of the Bourbons, secret agents 
were at work among the lowest classes of the population. 
The police were not as good as they ought to have been, 
and we were unwillingly obliged to inculcate respect for 
law and morality by force. 

Tutta la flotta partira il 19, ed il 20 saremo liberi di attaccare la piazza per 
terra e per mare. 

' Non mi spavento della reazione e degli aiuti che la Francia le dk. Sono 
avvezzo a veder partire da Parigi una doppia corrente. II Ministro della 
guerra Rondon ci e utilissimo. Le sue istruzioni debbono essere borboniane. 
Spero pero che, ritirata la flotta, il contegno dei soldati francesi muter^ ; ad 
ogni modo non bisogna darsene soverchio pensiero. 

• Fanti si e pure deciso a chiamare qui i Garibaldini ufficiali e gli ufficiali 
Napoletani. Faccio quanto sta in me per agevolarvi I'ardua impresa. So di 
poter fare assegnamento sulla tua fermezza e il tuo accorgimento. II Principe 
e ben disposto ; Nigra ha ingegno. Tutti insieme camminando d'accorda 
riuscirete a ristabilire I'ordine nel regno. Sara un servizio immenso reso 
airitalia. . . . Addio. C. Cavour.' 


In the middle and upper classes the sense of morality- 
was exceedingly low. During the dictatorship of Garibaldi 
abuses had crept in which had to be reformed. Under the 
pretext of lodging soldiers, every disposable house was 
occupied. Some of the Garibaldians had taken possession 
of rooms, not only for themselves and their families, but 
for letting. I appointed a commission of inquiry of some 
of our generals with those of the Garibaldian army, and 
of the members of the Communal Council who had been 
charged with distributing the billets. It was difficult to 
make them understand that this abuse must be put a 
stop to ; but at last it was decided that in thirty days 
the houses were to be cleared of all who had no right to 
be there. 

Some days later I received a visit from one of the mem- 
bers of the Council. With perfect self-possession he said, 
' Listen, dear friend. My brother occupies several rooms 
in such a street. Poor fellow ! he has such a lot of children 
that he is forced to turn his hand to anything in order to 
gain a living ; he only keeps two rooms for himself, and he 
lets the others. Can you not allow him to keep them ? 
Though he is my brother, I cannot do much for him. 
What do you say ? ' I looked at him with astonishment. 
He bore a great name, and he was rich, or, at all events, 
well off, yet he coolly proposed not only to disobey the 
very decision he had voted, but to do a dishonest action 
in favour of his brother. Other people were waiting to 
see me, so I rose, saying, * Your brother and his tenants 
must be out before the end of the month ; and remember 
that you have said nothing and that I have heard nothing.' 
He was rather taken aback, but left the room. 

Another day a rich contractor came to beg me to 
recommend him for an important government contract. 
I told him to leave his proposal for examination, be- 
cause I was busy. As he was going I saw him put 



something on the mantelpiece — evidently a rouleau 
of gold. 

' I beg your pardon,' said I ; ' what is that ? ' * Only a 
small offering/ he quietly replied, ' for the person who 
assists me in this matter.' ' I'd throw you and your 
money out of the window,' I exclaimed ; ' but I see you 
don't know what morality means. Take what belongs 
to you; go, and don't come back.' 

A gentleman, well known in science and politics, called 
on me and said, * My son is an officer, and has been at the 
siege of Gaeta. Now, they say, he is to be sent to that of 
Messina. Not to mention the fatigue, there will also be 
danger, and he would rather go to some garrison town.' 
* My dear sir,' I replied, ' our officers ask to be sent on 
active service. I will not do your son the injustice to think 
he would act otherwise, or imagine that you care more for 
his life than his honour. We will forget that anything has 
been said, and your young officer will go wherever he is 

I got very tired of this sort of thing, and of writing 
over and over again for troops and for remittances. 
Instead of accepting my resignation, Fanti proposed that 
I should exchange the command of the 5th corps darm^e 
for that of the 6th, which was to be sent to the southern 
provinces, and retain the position of commander-in-chief 
at Naples, in obedience to the wishes of the Prince of 
Carignano. This I refused ; and after waiting in vain 
during the month of April for my successor to be ap- 
pointed, I seized the pretext of an important discussion 
in the Senate early in May, took leave of the prince (who I 
knew intended to follow my example), and returned to 

The kingdom of Italy had only been constituted a few 
months before by Parliamentary law, a natural consequence 
of the plebiscite^ and Victor Emanuel had at once been 


acknowledged as King of Italy by England. Save Austria, 
the Pope and the ex-princes, no other power had protested, 
and evidently were inclined to follow the example of 
England. Internal affairs, however, were not so promising. 
Stormy scenes occurred in the Chambers. While La Mar- 
mora, in bitter language, opposed the new organisation of 
the army. Garibaldi flung insults at Cavour, and Cialdini 
violently, but justly, criticised Garibaldi. I then saw that 
these internal difficulties had prevented the government 
from giving more attention to the affairs of the new 
provinces. That terrible struggle between Cavour 
and Garibaldi, the two greatest factors after Victor 
Emanuel of Italian unity, was at its height. The death 
of Cavour, which took place forty days later, was attri- 
buted by many to the mental sufferings he underwent at 
that time. I saw Cavour a few days after I arrived at 
Turin, and related my impressions of the Neapolitan pro- 
vinces. Struck by the gravity of the report, he summoned 
me to a council of ministers to repeat publicly what I had 
told him in private. 

On the 6th June all Italy went into mourning for the 
death of her great son. He was, and he will remain, one 
of the greatest figures of the nineteenth century — if not 
the greatest. Without Cavour it would have taken cen- 
turies to form a united Italy ; thanks to him, it was done 
in little more than twenty years. The prologue was in 
1848, the epilogue in 1870, after the death of the great 


I go to Berlin as Ambassador Extraordinary — Coronation of William I. — 
The Earl of Clarendon offers his Services — Napoleon demands a 

The Prince of Carignano left Naples for Turin soon after 
I did. Count Ponzo di S. Martino was named in his 
stead as viceroy, and General Durando assumed the 
military command. He had no more luck than myself, 
and, after begging in vain for more troops and more money, 
sent in his resignation after a few months' service. 

The 5th corps d'arm^e had meanwhile been sent to 
Tuscany, and I gladly resumed the command. In the 
autumn, just as my wife was preparing for the move to 
Florence, the king sent for me, and offered me the first 
military command (Turin). General Hector de Sonnaz 
wished to go to Florence, and I was only too glad to 
return to Turin, and thus be enabled to continue my 
service of first aide-de-camp to the king. Victor Emanuel 
had kept his promise and fulfilled my dearest wishes. 

Some weeks later I was sent as ambassador extraor- 
dinary to Berlin, to attend the coronation of William I., 
who succeeded his brother King Frederick William IV. 
of Prussia. All the great European powers were to be 



represented, and although the new kingdom of Italy had 
not been recognised by Prussia, the friendly relations 
which had always existed between that State and Sar- 
dinia made it advisable to send an ambassador to the 

The mission was not so difficult or so important as that 
of 1858 to the Emperor Napoleon III. ; still. La Marmora 
having failed several months before to obtain the recogni- 
tion by Prussia of the new kingdom of Italy, it was not 
quite plain sailing. My business was to do nothing and 
say nothing about any recognition, but quietly to assume 
the position, not of ambassador of the King of Sardinia, 
but of the King of Italy. 

In the second week of October I left with a numerous 
suite of officers, all clever, handsome, well-bred young 
fellows, who did their country credit. The day after my 
arrival at Berlin I presented my credentials to Baron von 
Bernsdorf, Minister of Foreign Affairs. They were made 
out for the ambassador extraordinary from King Victor 
Emanuel to His Majesty King William I. Glancing at them, 
the minister said, 'Why His Majesty King William, and 
not His Majesty the King of Prussia ? ' Feigning ignorance, 
I answered, ' If this form does not please your excellency, 
I will at once send to Turin and have it changed into 
ambassador from the King of Italy to His Majesty the King 
of Prussia.' ' No, no ; it does not matter,' he said. Berns- 
dorf did not seem altogether satisfied, but made the best of 
it, and was very courteous. Two days afterwards I was 
received by King William I. with the same ceremonial as 
the French and English ambassadors. He greeted me 
personally with great cordiality, having known me in 1850. 
The coronation took place a few days later, and I 
summoned the little diplomacy I possessed to my aid to 
avoid making some false step, as the ex-King of Naples had 
not recalled his ambassador, who was invited with the other 


members of the diplomatic corps in Berlin, and, poor 
fellow ! cut a sorry figure. 

A special train, with a reserved carriage marked by a 
card for each ambassador, was to take us down to Koenigs- 
berg. Walking down the platform with my suite, I saw a 
card with ' His Excellency the Ambassador of the King 
of Sardinia,' attached to a carriage. We passed without 
noticing it, and meeting a court official, I said, ' Excuse me, 
but I cannot find the carriage for the ambassador of His 
Majesty King Victor Emanuel.' The official disappeared, 
and soon returned and conducted me to where I had seen 
the first card, now changed for one bearing the words, * His 
Excellency the Ambassador of His Majesty King Victor 

The coronation took place in the chapel of the castle 
of Koenigsberg, where Frederick I., the great Elector of 
Brandenburg crowned himself King of Prussia in 1701. 
Long, wide galleries, leading to the chapel, flanked the huge 
halls, and in one of them were ranged the foreign princes, 
ambassadors, ministers and distinguished visitors. The 
king, who walked under a canopy, was dressed in red velvet 
embroidered in gold, and a long ermine mantle ; in one 
hand he held the sceptre, in the other a globe surmounted 
by a gold cross, exactly like the pictures of Charlemagne 
and the old German emperors. After him walked 
numerous German princes and knights in rich robes, and 
officers in every kind of uniform. The picturesque proces- 
sion passed slowly before us, and people generally thought 
it very impressive; I confess it appeared to me rather 

I was treated by everybody on the same footing as the 
ambassadors of France, England, and other great powers, 
to the annoyance of the Austrian ambassador, that same 
prince of Liechtenstein who took such a dislike to me in 
Paris in 1858. It was common talk among the members 


of the diplomatic body that the other powers would soon 
follow the example of France and England, and officially 
recognise the new kingdom of Italy. Some of them offered 
me their services with the Prussian Court, with a view to 
accelerate the recognition ; especially Lord Clarendon, 
Ambassador of Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria. 
But I had no authority from Ricasoli ^ to accept any such 
offers; on the contrary, absolute neutrality had been 

^ I'-give some of the telegrams bearing on this question. 

* Berlin, 13 Octobre 61, 
''A. S. E. Ricasoli. 

* Lord Clarendon m'a offert ses services demandant s'il pouvait etre 
agreable au Roi et gouvernement de parler a Bernsdorf et Roi lui meme, si 
occasion se presentait, pour reconnaissance n6tre royaume, ou du moins con- 
naitre raison du retard. Jen 'ai pas laisse gnorer que ne puis faire politique, 
ni prononcer mot reconnaissance avec Gouvernement prussien, mais pas cru 
devoir refuser bons offices ; je pense que Clarendon veut pas ceder a Mac- 
Mahon honneur obtenir notre reconnaissance. En tout cas ma politique est 
profiter des circonstances et bon vouloir Clarendon. J'ai prevenu Comte de 
Launay de tout ceci. Della Rocca.* 

' 14 Octobre 61. 
' R^ponse Ricasoli : 

* Nous avons promis au Gouvernement prussien de ne faire aucune demarche 
pour reconnaissance k I'occasion du couronnement, par consequent si Claren- 
don fait ouverture, doit etre bien entendu sera sans aucune participation de V. 
E. Veuillez causer avec De Launay. Ricasoli.' 

' KcENiGSBERG, 1 7 Octobre. 

* Je fais trop mauvaise figure ne pouvant repondre k certaines questions, 
Veuillez me tenir au courant politique, desire savoir si General La Marmora est 
nomme a Naples. Re9u depeche, ne me sui« 'amais ecarte vos instructions ; 
toutes questions etiquette marchent d'une maniere satisfaisante jusqu' a 
present. Della Rocca.' 

* Reponse Ricasoli : 

* Je reponds sans delai h. votre telegramme d'hier. La Marmora vient 
d'accepter commandement des troupes a Naples et temporairement les 
fonctions de Prefet de la province Naples. L'abolition de la Lieutenance de 
Naples et du gouvernement de la Toscane est decidee, et le decret relatif sera 
public prochainement avec la loi de decentralisation administrative. Les 
choses el Naples marchent assez bien, et j'espere marcheront mieux.' 


imposed upon me. A few months afterwards, Prussia, 
Russia, Belgium and Portugal recognised the new kingdom. 

I only alluded to it once. A new Catholic church was 
consecrated with great pomp while I was at Berlin, and 
everyone had been invited except the Ambassador of King 
Victor Emanuel. I was dining at court that night, and 
King William, raising his voice, asked me, across the table, 
if the ceremony had been a striking one, and whether there 
were many spectators. Answering, so that everyone might 
hear, I said, ' I don't know, your Majesty. I was at the 
hospital, where there are several Italians I was charged 
to assist by the King of Italy.' 

The leading personalities then in Berlin were the 
English and French ambassadors. The latter had been 
allowed a million for his expenses, the empress had lent 
some of her jewels to the Mardchale MacMahon, and work- 
men had been sent from Paris to decorate the French 
Legation, and turn the courtyard into a huge ballroom. 
Clarendon ridiculed such extravagance as pertaining to a 
parvenu^ and neither he nor the rich Duke of Ossuna 
imitated it. 

On the termination of my mission I returned to Turin, 
and was able to pass a few weeks at Luserna with my wife 
and little girls. The first three years of the new kingdom 
of Italy were among the happiest and most fortunate of 
my life ; I wish I could say the same for my country. 

When in i860 Cavour returned to power, he induced 
Napoleon to relinquish his idea of a congress for settling 
the so-called Italian question, and persuaded him to 
consent to our annexation of the Duchies and the 
Legations after a plebiscite. This was paid for by the 
cession of the two frontier provinces, Nice and Savoy. 
But after the death of Cavour the emperor drew back, and 
the negotiations relating to the recall of the French troops 
from Rome were dropped. Matters went pretty smoothly 


in northern and central Italy, but in the southern 
provinces our representatives were incessantly being 
changed without contenting either the population or the 

In spite of his hesitating policy, the emperor was 
faithful to Victor Emanuel, and sent a fleet to salute him 
at Naples, when he passed through from the inauguration 
of the railway between Pescara and Foggia. Victor 
Emanuel went on board the admiral's vessel, and was 
received with enthusiasm by the French sailors. Rejoicings 
at Naples were cut short by his sudden departure. He was 
recalled to the capital by the events which preceded the 
sad affair of Aspromonte. Home politics were upset. 
Rattazzi, who had succeeded Ricasoli, fell, and poor Farini, 
a shadow of his former self, was called to form a new 
ministry. After a few weeks he was forced to resign the 
presidency to Minghetti. Ministers changed, but the 
difficulties, chiefly caused by the presence of a French 
garrison in Rome, remained. Without demanding any 
guarantee, the emperor, trusting in Cavour's political 
sagacity, had promised him that in 1861 it should be 
withdrawn. But Napoleon had no faith in his successors ; 
he feared arousing the enmity of the Catholic powers, who 
wished to keep the Pope at Rome, and he insisted on some 
pledge or guarantee that Rome should not be wrested 
from the Sovereign Pontiff. Hitherto none had been 
found which seemed calculated to assure him against the 
machinations of the revolutionary parties. At last, in the 
summer of 1864, a way out of the difficulty was suggested 
by an Italian relation of the emperor, and Turin was 
called upon to make the sacrifice. Turin would have 
gladly made it had it been asked for the good of Italy, but 
it was torn from her by treachery and force. As I was 
intimately mixed up, not in the conspiracy (against Turin), 
but in its consequences, I must explain what occurred after 


the so-called Convention of September. The negotiations, 
which had been begun in June by the Minghetti ministry, 
were continued by Visconti-Venosta, through the agency 
of Menabrea, who went several times to see the emperor ; 
finally the Convention was signed in Paris on the 15th 
September 1864. The important article was the removal 
of the capital from Turin. Outside government circles 
nothing was known in Turin till the 20th, the day after a 
council of generals was held, under the presidency of the 
Prince of Carignano. This council was simply a farce, 
held in order to be able to tell the Chambers that the 
generals had been consulted as to the strategical ad- 
vantage of transferring the capital. The prince declared 
that he was only authorised to ask us to name which city^ 
with the exception of Rome and Naples, was most fitted to 
be the capital of Italy. The question was put first to our 
doyen^ General Hector de Sonnaz, who tried to couple his 
answer with certain objections. Prince Eugene at once 
stopped him, saying, ' I can listen to no comments and 
no appreciations. I can only receive the name of the city 
which strategically in your opinion is most suited for a 
capital.' We agreed that, strategically speaking, the best 
capital, that is the easiest to defend, was Florence. This 
sufficed for telling the Chambers that the generals had 
unanimously indicated Florence as the future capital of 
Italy. The Convention had been signed some days, and 
the king had already suggested Florence, because it lay 
on the road to Rome, which he did not intend to renounce. 
Victor Emanuel was not easy to persuade ; he often 
combated the ideas of his ministers, and occasionally 
insisted on carrying out his own. But once convinced 
(Cavour generally succeeded in convincing him), he frankly 
accepted what he considered his duty, and never wasted 
time in vain words of regret. 


Riots in Turin — Police fire on the People — ' Rome or Death ' — I invite Ming- 
hetti to resign — La Marmora Prime Minister — Ricasoli appeals to the 
Patriotism of the Piedmontese Deputies. 

The negotiations for the Convention had been conducted 
with such absolute secrecy that, on the 19th September, 
when the generals met, the public suspected nothing. 
Vague reports circulated next day, but the news was 
only definitely known when published in the ministerial 
papers, the Opinione^ thtStampa and the Gazzettadi Torino, 
on the 2 1 St. The Stampa and the Opinione made no com- 
ment, but the Gazzetta accompanied the announcement 
with hurried words, containing veiled irony and covert 
threats against the people of Turin. Demonstrations 
were immediately made in front of the ministries to 
the cry of ' Down with the ministers ! ' ' Rome or death !' 
Rioting also took place near the office of the Gazzetta 
di Torino. 

Nearly the whole garrison had been sent, by ministerial 
orders, to Cigliano, beyond S. Maurizio, to take part in 
some sham battles. On the 20th I reviewed the troops, 
and sent them off, and next day, at dawn, left Turin with 
my staff to assist at the manoeuvres. Returning at dusk, 
I saw Major Corvetto, of the staff, at the station of 
Chivasso, evidently waiting for me. I made him get into 



my carriage, and he then told me what had happened 
in Turin, and also gave me an official letter, which had 
reached my headquarters after three in the afternoon. 
The ministers were evidently alarmed, as they had 
called a Cabinet council at the first news of the riot- 
ing, which, after all, was not very serious. No one 
knew better than themselves that the commander of 
the territorial troops was absent, yet the letter said 
* Your Excellency is requested to commission Colonel 
Formenti, commanding the ist Legion of Gendarmes, 
to take command of the troops necessary for the 
repression of present disorders, or of those which may 
occur to-night or to-morrow.' The handwriting was 
unknown to me, but the minister of war. General 
Delia Rovere, had added these lines : * When the terri- 
torial commander arrives, he will take whatever steps 
he considers best. — The Minister of War.' I reached 
Turin between nine and ten at night and was 
at once informed that an excited crowd was going 
down Via Nuova, towards Piazza Castello, which was 
occupied by young, untrained gendarmes. Police, known 
by their accent not to be Piedmontese, were stationed at 
the corner of every street ; they were Milanese or Nea- 
politans, and instead of calming the populace, seemed to 
excite them. 

I sent one of my aides-de-camp back to Cigliano to 
order the troops to return, and then walked to the ministry 
of war. With the exception of Piazza Castello, Via Nuova 
and part of Via del Po, the city was perfectly tranquil. 
After waiting more than an hour, I was leaving the war 
office, when Delia Rovere arrived and told me what had 
just happened. Piazza Castello had been invaded by a 
mob from Piazza San Carlo, furious with the gendarmes 
and the police, who had hit the people with the flat of their 
swords to make them disperse. A shot from some un- 


known hand, followed by a second, was taken as a signal 
by the gendarmes to fire a volley. Over fifty people fell 
dead, wounded, or senseless from fright, and in an instant 
the square was deserted. Delia Rovere expected more 
serious rioting next day, and ordered me to accelerate the 
return of the troops from the Camp of Instruction. He 
told me nothing about the cabinet Council held that day. 
Afterwards the ministers Minghetti and Peruzzi said that 
it had been decided to unite the civil and military powers 
under my command. This is very improbable, as no 
alarming riots had taken place ; indeed, I should say there 
never was any occasion for alarm. The number of idle 
lookers-on largely exceeded the rioters, and would have 
been easily dispersed by the usual bugle call without using 

Leaving Delia Rovere, I went to headquarters to send 
off the orders and prepare for the morrow, and then to the 
minister of the interior to inform him of my arrangements. 
I found the corridor of the Home Office guarded by 
gendarmes, and the ministers, with one or two exceptions, 
in a state of excitement and anxiety, which astonished me. 
I told Peruzzi (minister of the interior) that six thousand 
men would arrive from Cigliano early in the morning, to 
be followed before noon by others, and made some sug- 
gestions for tranquillising the population. It was agreed 
between the ministers of the interior, of war, and myself that 
as soon as the troops arrived they should patrol the streets. 

Early in the morning the troops were there; but I 
waited in vain for the police delegates, without whom the 
patrols could not legally act. At last they arrived, and 
soon afterwards the police magistrate, Chiapusso, sent to 
ask for troops to protect the vicinity of Piazza San Carlo. 
I went to the Home Office, and, among other things, asked 
Peruzzi if the National Guard was to be employed together 
with the troops. He said, ' Certainly not ; the whole service 


would be confided to the regular troops/ At mid-day I 
heard, to my astonishment, that the National Guard had 
just been called out. The truth is, the ministers had lost 
their heads. Meanwhile, a mob had collected in Piazza 
San Carlo, throwing stones at the office windows of the 
Gazzetta di Torino^ and shouting, ' Down with the Gazzetta ! 
Down with the traitorous ministers ! Rome or death ! ' 
Chiapusso, misled by the exaggerated reports of an agent, 
sent a small force of gendarmes and police, who were 
received with hisses and abuse. The bugle note of warn- 
ing, calling the people to disperse, was sounded, but the 
row prevented those at any distance from hearing ; so the 
doors of the police office were flung open, forty young 
gendarme recruits rushed out, broke through the line of 
infantry, and threw themselves on the crowd. A shot was 
heard, then another, and the troops, thinking they were 
attacked, fired. Owing to the unfortunate manner in 
which they had been stationed (by Chiapusso's orders), at 
the corners of the square, they shot, not only people in the 
crowd, but their own comrades. The colonel and the 
ensign of the 17th regiment were severely wounded, and 
several soldiers killed and wounded. 

I found the ministers in a state of great agitation — so 
alarmed that Minghetti actually proposed to declare 
martial law. I could not refrain from combating this 
with considerable warmth, and then assured them, if they 
would withdraw magistrate, police and gendarmes, and 
entrust the maintenance of order to the troops, tranquillity 
would soon be restored. When Delia Rovere, who had 
been ill and was lying on the sofa, heard me oppose the 
proposal of Minghetti, he jumped up, exclaiming, 'La 
Rocca is right ! I, minister of war, am absolutely against 
any such measure.' ' But you have sent in your resigna- 
tion,' observed Minghetti, ironically. ' Quite true, on 
account of ill-health ; but, seeing the dangerous condition 


of things, I have withdrawn my resignation. I remain at 
my post, and such material and moral injury shall not be 
done to Turin with my consent. She has been sorely 
tried, and will have more to bear ! ' 

On the night of the 22d, or rather at two in the morn- 
ing of the 23d, I returned home, and thought it my duty 
to draw up a report of what had happened for His Majesty. 
Contrary to my usual habit, I ventured to add that, 
in my opinion, he ought to dismiss the present Cabinet. 
My messenger crossed Count Castiglione, who brought me 
a letter from the king, stating his intention of dismissing 
the ministry, but directing me to consult first with the 
Prince of Carignano. If, as was most probable, the prince 
approved, I was ordered to go to the prime minister, 
and invite him and his colleagues to send in their resig- 

The Prince of Carignano agreed that the sooner the 
ministers resigned the better. So I went to Minghetti, 
with whom was Peruzzi, and delivered my message. Min- 
ghetti angrily refused to accept verbal orders, and tele- 
graphed to Sommariva for an order signed by the king. 
An hour later the answer came, but he did not show it to 
me. Sneering ironically, as when he spoke to Delia Rovere, 
he said, * We resign, and hand over all civil and military 
powers to you. Now, see whether you can tranquillise the 
people and prevent fresh disturbances.' 

I could not refrain from saying, * Rest assured there 
will be none, save, perhaps, a slight demonstration in an 
hour or so — but of a different kind.' 

' I understand, of course,' replied Minghetti, * demon- 
strations of joy for our fall.' 

From the ministry I went to Hotel Feeder to see La 
Marmora, who had just arrived from Switzerland, to give 
him an order from the king to form a Cabinet. He had 
been absent during the negotiations for the Convention, 


of which he disapproved, and brusquely said, ' Yes, yes ; 
follies are committed, and then I am charged to remedy 
them.' In spite of his reluctance, however, he undertook 
the task, and secured the co-operation of Giovanni Lanza, 
respected and esteemed by every Piedmontese. 

During the day (23d) numerous detachments of infantry 
traversed the city, which was perfectly tranquil in every 
direction. I had confined the gendarmes to their barracks, 
sent the extra police out of Turin, and Chiapusso to pursue 
his avocation in another city. I ordered the theatres to 
be reopened on the 25th, which diminished the crowd in 
the caf6s, and the city soon resumed its usual aspect. 
There was a slight effervescence on the day (24th October) 
of the opening of the Chambers, but chiefly in the clubs 
and cafes. The truth is, the Piedmontese were profoundly 
irritated. The so-called pledge, which had not been de- 
manded by Napoleon of Cavour, when in 1861 the latter 
stipulated the withdrawal of the French troops from Rome, 
was now to be dearly paid by the people of Turin. They 
had been ready — nay, anxious — to make any sacrifice for 
the union of Italy, with Rome as capital, ever since the day 
when Camillo Cavour summoned the Parliament in the 
small Piedmontese capital to proclaim that Rome must 
be the great capital of the new kingdom of Italy. But now 
that our going to Rome seemed almost hopeless, the Pied- 
montese were furious, and insisted that the national 
programme, according to the policy of Cavour, should be 
carried out. In vain we endeavoured to convince them 
that from Florence we should proceed to Rome ; in vain 
Victor Emanuel exclaimed, ' Florence is but a stage on 
the way ; to Rome we shall go.' 

The discussions on the law for the transfer of the 
capital lasted all through November and part of December. 
In spite of violent, but useless, opposition, the king, having 
already, by virtue of the power given him by the Constitu- 


tion, signed the Convention ; the law passed by a great 
majority in the Chambers, and also in the Senate, although 
opposed by several leading men, particularly by Massimo 

Excitement increased in Turin as the day approached 
for the opening of Parliament. The Turinese naturally 
resented the decapitalisation of their city without any 
apparent gain to Italy. Several deputies wanted to put 
the ministers, who had proposed and signed the Conven- 
tion, on their trial for high treason, as having acted in 
contravention of the national vote, expressed and sanc- 
tioned in 1 86 1 by the Parliament. 

The situation was difficult and involved, and discord 
reigned between Italians. The patriot Bettino Ricasoli 
resolved to try and put an end to such a condition of 
things. He inscribed his name first on the list of intend- 
ing speakers, and made an eloquent speech in favour 
of concord and brotherly love which ought to unite the 
representatives of the various Italian provinces. He 
appealed to the Piedmontese deputies to set the ex- 
ample, and add yet another sacrifice to the many made 
for the unity of Italy. His words touched all hearts, 
and carried the day ; enmity and rancour were, if not 
forgotten, at least momentarily stifled in a wave of 

I soon saw that the ex-ministers and their partisans 
could not forgive the accusations made against them by 
the Turinese ; and also that they erroneously believed that I 
had induced the king to dismiss them on the 23d Sep- 
tember, and intended that I should suffer for it. They 
discovered, what no one had suspected during the sixteen 
years the Constitution had been in force, that it was 
unconstitutional for one man to hold the offices of 
chief aide-de-camp to the king and commander of any 
considerable force, such as an army corps. Although 



this was something very like an insult to the most 
constitutional of kings, friends of the fallen ministry- 
found influential people to listen to them, the more so 
that La Marmora, President of the Council, was on 
their side. 


The Mob insults the King's Guests — The King leaves for Florence — 
Closer Alliance with Prussia. 

On the first of the year 1865 the king, according to old 
usage, went in state to the theatre, and was very warmly 
received, in spite of the discontent still existing among all 
classes about the transfer of the capital. This discontent 
was manifested by a small demonstration on the night of 
the first Court ball, the 30th January. A crowd assembled 
at the palace gates, and as the carriages passed hisses and 
shouts of ' Down with Florence as capital ! Long live 
Rome ! ' were raised. Stones were thrown at the carriage 
windows, while the National Guard looked stolidly on. 

I was standing with His Majesty at a window of the 
palace when the disturbance began, but there was no great 
crowd, and neither of us thought there was any danger. I 
begged the king to return to the ballroom, and went down 
into the square. After seeing the last carriage enter the 
palace gates, I followed and told the king everything was 

I was even more struck by the emptiness of the ball- 
room than by the row in the street. Many guests had not 
come, and most of the ladies had been frightened and 



returned home. The wives of the high Court officials were 
represented by my wife and the old Marchioness Spinola, 
a very small, thin woman, who always dressed in the 
fashions of 1830, a tight and short gown, which looked 
very odd among the crinolines and sweeping skirts. It 
was said that she never discarded her old dresses, had not 
bought a new one since the death of her husband, and 
wore her old ones by turns at the Court dinners and balls. 
Anyhow, she made such a contrast to my wife that the 
king, in spite of his annoyance, was much amused. 

Next day the papers were filled with exaggerated 
descriptions of the demonstration, and some of the 
ministers succeeded in representing the affair to the 
king in such a way as to give it considerable political 
importance. The syndic of Turin, Marquis di Rora, 
was also blamed for not going with the municipal 
authorities to present the excuses of the citizens of Turin, 
and beg the king to pardon the disgraceful scenes of the 
30th January. There was so much talk and fuss that the 
king lost all patience and decided to leave at once for 
Florence. He was enthusiastically cheered during the 
journey, and received with every sign of love and 

I must now revert to my own experiences during the 
early days of 1865, certainly among the saddest in my life. 
On the last of January and the ist of February the king 
was worried and preoccupied. On the 2d I was detained all 
day at my office and did not see him, so he sent Castiglione 
late in the evening to my house with a message. The 
ministers and some other persons had so effectually suc- 
ceeded in rousing the anger of the king against the 
Turinese, and against their syndic, for not having offered 
any apology for the occurrences of the 30th, that he had 
resolved to leave Turin next day for Florence. * The king 
imagines,' added Castiglione, after a pause, * that you are 


as much disgusted as he is by all that has happened, and 
will have no objection to throw up your command here 
and follow him to Florence.' 

I was so taken aback by these words, of which I at 
once saw the hidden meaning, that I remained silent for 
a moment. I then said, * I am most grateful to His 
Majesty for wishing me to accompany him, but I cannot 
resign my command ; if I am dismissed, the dishonour will 
be unbearable, as people would suppose that I had a hand 
in the slaughter of September, and in the recent disorders. 
I know there is the rumour that I am to lose one of my 
appointments, and, however painful it will be for me to leave 
the king, after passing twenty-five years in almost daily 
intercourse with him, I shall resign the post of first aide-de- 
camp to His Majesty.' 

Castiglione assured me that the king knew perfectly 
well that no blame attached to me, but since the question 
had been raised, and the two appointments had been 
declared incompatible, the king thought I might retain 
the post of chief aide-de-camp and follow him to Florence. 
My cousin tried hard, probably by the king's orders, to gild 
the pill, but it was too bitter a one for me to swallow. 
La Marmora, in proposing these measures, had acted as 
I should not have done towards my worst enemy. In 
spite of what Castiglione said, I gathered that I was to 
be deprived of the command of the army corps of the 
department of Turin, and resolved to do my utmost to retain 
it. I therefore sent in my resignation as first aide-de-camp 
to His Majesty, fully determined to demand satisfaction of 
La Marmora if the command was taken from me. I wrote 
to the king to thank him for his constant kindness, and 
said that, though most painful to me to resign a post I had 
held for twenty-five years, my military honour demanded 
that at this moment I should prefer the command of an 
army corps to any other position. The king was already 


at Florence, so I sent my letter to my brother Frederick, 
who was on duty there, to give to His Majesty. Getting 
no answer, and no news from my brother or from Castig- 
lione, I sent in my resignation to La Marmora, who, as 
president of the Council, had accompanied the king to 
Florence, adding that I should discard my uniform in order 
to be free to demand satisfaction for the unmerited affront 
received at his hands. The letter had just left when a 
telegram came from my brother, calling me to Florence. 
At the same time my wife received a letter from 
Castiglione, written by order of the king, to say that 
though, for political reasons, I could not be left in com- 
mand of the Turin district, he had arranged with La 
Marmora that I was to be named to the military command 
in the new capital. This would enable me, even if I 
resigned my post of first aide-de-camp, to be about the 
king's person as before. 

Victor Emanuel received me most cordially and kindly 
and described how furious my letter had made La Mar- 
mora ; but he could not deny that all the trouble had been 
caused by my dear cousin Alphonse, for His Majesty knew 
better than myself how and why he disliked me. The king 
tried to prove that the military command of a district was 
a political post, but could not help laughing when I ex- 
claimed, ' Since when ? Only since I have held the post, 
and General Alphonse La Marmora has been president of 
the council ! ' He then added that he had induced La 
Marmora to promise not to answer my challenge by word 
of mouth or by letter, and that he hoped that I would show 
the same deference to his wishes, and meet La Marmora as 
though nothing had occurred between us. Touched by the 
kindness of His Majesty, I promised to avoid all scandal. 
A few days later I accompanied him to S. Rossore, near 
Pisa, where a deputation from Turin brought a petition, 
signed by many thousand Piedmontese, entreating Victor 


Emanuel to return to his old capital. The syndic, Ror^, 
had already been to Florence with an address which the 
ministers rejected. The king, after some severe words of 
censure, resumed his habitual indulgent kindliness, and 
dismissed Rora with a promise that he would spend part 
of the spring in Turin. 

Poor General Fanti died early in April, and I must do 
La Marmora the justice to say that he at once fixed upon 
me as his successor to the military command of the capital. 
But the king, knowing how susceptible I was about my 
military honour, insisted on my being reinstated in my old 
command of Turin, thus giving me another proof of his 
benevolence. I believe it was also good policy, as he thus 
showed the people of Turin that he had found out they 
had been calumniated and was determined to give satis- 
faction to everyone. 

We passed the winter of 1865 between Turin and 
Florence, where the king had given us a nice apartment in 
an annex of the Pitti Palace. The question of Schleswig- 
Holstein was being hotly discussed in all Europe, and 
threatened to be a cause for war between Austria and 
Prussia. Italian politicians took advantage of this state 
of things to draw the bonds of our alliance with Prussia 
closer, who, by using our troops against Austria, would give 
us the chance of obtaining the Venetian provinces. 

La Marmora, as president of the council, was negotiat- 
ing the alliance. At Florence the king spoke to me about 
it, convinced that it would lead to the fulfilment of his one 
desire in life — the independence and unity of Italy. He 
talked of the hoped-for war with Austria, referring fre- 
quently to the events of '48, '49 and '60, as though it was 
sure that I was again to be his companion in this new war. 
I listened, but said to myself, war there will be, but they 
will not let me be near the king as of old. In 1859 Victor 
Emanuel could impose his will on La Marmora, Minister of 


War, and choose his own chief of the staff. But in 1866 La 
Marmora was president of the Council, and for six months 
had been treating this alliance. The king certainly could 
not give to anyone the post the minister had reserved for 
himself, and least of all to me. 


1866 (first part) 

False Statements of the Austrian Cabinet — Mobilisation of our Army — A 
Newspaper Correspondent — Declaration of War by Prussia and Italy 
— We cross the Mincio. 

For a short time it seemed as though all fear of war had 
passed, so my wife and daughters left for London, never 
doubting that they would find me at Turin on their return. 
About the 20th April the Austrian government, challenged 
by several of the European Cabinets, declared that all arma- 
ments on the Italian confines had been countermanded, and 
all bellicose ideas abandoned. This was trumpeted abroad 
in the papers ; but troops were meanwhile being rapidly 
concentrated on our frontier. Called upon for an explana- 
tion, the Austrian Cabinet, as a justification of this sudden 
change, gave two absolutely false reasons ; one, that Italy 
was bringing numerous troops up from the south, and 
massing them at Bologna and Piacenza, with a view to the 
invasion of the Venetian provinces ; the other, that Gari- 
baldi, with his volunteers, had already entered Venetian 
territory, near Rovigo. The so-called * numerous troops ' 
were two cavalry regiments, which had been sent to the 
Neapolitan provinces in 1864 to repress brigandage, and 
were now returning to their garrisons. Garibaldi had not 



moved from Caprera, and no Garibaldian had entered the 
Venetian provinces. But, on the strength of these inven- 
tions, Austria sent large contingents of troops from 
Hungary and Bohemia to our frontiers ; and La Marmora, 
finding his denials were not believed, determined to justify 
the assertions of Austria, and ordered the immediate 
mobilisation of our army. 

I was rather afraid that, with La Marmora at the head 
of the government, I might have been left in command at 
Turin, and not sent to the front. But once more Victor 
Emanuel came to my aid and gave me the command of 
the 3d corps. 

Early in May the army was ready to take the field — 
four army corps, twenty divisions, in all about two hundred 
thousand men. Durando commanded the ist corps, formed 
of the four divisions Cerale, Pianell, Brignone and Sirtori ; 
General Cucchiari commanded the 2d, formed of the divi- 
sions Mignano, Cosenz, Angioletti and Longoni; the 3d 
(mine) consisted of the divisions Bixio, Cugia, Cadorna 
and Govone, but Cadorna's division was shortly changed, 
by the king's desire, for that of Prince Humbert. The 4th 
corps, under Cialdini, consisted of sometimes eight, some- 
times ten divisions, and was called the army of the Po. 
The other three corps were commanded by the king, with 
La Marmora as chief of the staff, and was called the army 
of the Mincio. 

As soon as I arrived at Piacenza I called on General 
Pettiti, the alter ego of La Marmora, and, of course, v\'e 
began talking about the organisation of the army. I could 
not refrain from expressing my disapprobation of thus 
dividing our forces into two armies, independent of each 

' You are right in theory,' replied Pettiti ; ' but our case 
is an exception. The Austrians, engaged in Bohemia, 
cannot throw a large army into Italy, so either of our two 


armies will be equal to the enemy wherever he may attack 
us — on the Mincio or on the Po.' ' Very well,' said I ; * but 
remember the old proverb, " Union is strength." It seems 
to me the best tactics would be to keep together, await an 
attack, and repel it with our whole force.' 

We parted mutually unconvinced, but I felt certain of 
the inevitable consequences of so fatal an error. 

Either just before, or immediately after, my visit to Pettiti, 
the king came to Piacenza to review my troops and to ask 
me to take the i6th division, commanded by Prince Hum- 
bert, into my corps. Cialdini, to whose corps the i6th had 
been destined, absolutely refused to have a royal prince 
under his orders, alleging that his presence was prejudicial 
to the liberty of action of the commander. I was far too 
devoted to Victor Emanuel to refuse, and knowing that 
Prince Humbert was brave like his father, and eager to 
show himself obedient to military discipline, I welcomed 
him heartily, and trusted that the good star of the House 
of Savoy might preserve him from any mishap. 

During his sojourn at Piacenza the king asked me if all 
essential preparations for the campaign were made, and 
whether all would be ready in a few days. ' Not at all,' I 
answered. ' We are no longer in the good old days of Fanti, 
when eight or ten divisions could be placed under arms in 
a week, thoroughly equipped.' ' Oh ! ' said the king, * that 
is just what Cialdini said yesterday at Bologna. He said 
it was all the fault of Pettinengo.' ' The evil existed before 
he became a minister,' I replied, ' and he has not yet had 
time to mend matters.' But from that day I felt sure that 
Pettinengo would be made the scapegoat for the mistakes 
of others. I well remember the king saying to me during 
that visit, with all his old kindliness, that he already felt 
the want of my services as chief of the staff, and added that 
he would have a cipher sent, as he desired to correspond 
directly with me, and have my candid opinion on every- 


thing. His secretary, Castiglione, sent me not one, but two, 
ciphers ; but I only made use of them once, for after 1 864 
politics, z>., the ministers, always stood between Victor 
Emanuel and myself. 

After reviewing and superintending the instruction of 
the recruits at Piacenza during incessant and heavy rain 
I had an acute return of my old pain in the shoulder, 
and told the military doctor, Cerale, to bleed me. The 
doctor was horrified, and protested that he could not, and 
would not, obey me. ' Doctor,' I said, ' you are a major, I 
am a general. The advantage of being a superior is pre- 
cisely that one can command ; therefore, get to work at 
once.' * But, general, I have not got my instruments.' ' Go 
and get them, and make haste.' Cerale went most unwill- 
ingly, and returned in an hour with all that was necessary. 
He visited me again in the evening, and found me much 
better ; but being still in pain, I made him take off the 
bandages and let more blood. I slept well, and, though 
weak and pale, after two days' convalescence rode to Cre- 
mona to preside over the council for the national defence. 

On my return Signor Petruccelli della Gattina, corre- 
spondent of the Journal des Dibats^ called upon me with a 
letter from my friend General Trochu. I received him 
coldly, and had it not been for this letter, probably should 
not have received him at all. In time of war I have little 
sympathy with these gentlemen, who, for the sake of send- 
ing a few columns of news to their papers, are capable of 
altering truth in a most dangerous manner.^ 

^ The following are a few extracts of Sig. P. della Gattina's article, pub- 
lished in ih^ Journal des Debats on the 6th June 1866 : — 

' J'ai dit que le General Della Rocca commandait le 3.nie Corps d'Armee, 
J'^prouve un certain embarras a parler du Marquis Morozzo Della Rocca, qui 
m'avouait tant6t que s'il etait Chef d'Etat Major general il emp^cherait la 
presse de s'entretenir de la guerre. Je ne veux done pas effaroucher le silence 
que ce General desire faire autour de sa personne, et je me borne a rappeler ses 
etats de service, du reste fort eloquents. . , . 


Late in April and during May the Emperor Napoleon 
opened negotiations for convening a congress, with a 
view to prevent the war between Prussia and Austria, 
and also to obtain the cession of Venice to Italy against 
a large monetary compensation. But his attempt failed, 
the congress did not meet, and the campaign was retarded. 
I therefore wrote to my wife, who was determined to 
return to Piedmont, to come and join me at Piacenza, 
where I expected to be for another fortnight. She left 
London the end of May with our two daughters, and on 
the 2d June arrived in Piacenza, where I was able to 
lodge them comfortably, and show them various military 
evolutions, which pleased the girls. It was reported that 
Count Arese was going on a mission to Paris to secure 
the neutrality of France, and we officers feared that some 
diplomatic arrangement would give Venice to Italy with- 
out the chance of striking a blow, on condition that she 

' Delia Rocca fit la campagne de 1848 comme Chef d'Etat Major de la 
Division de reserve, commandee par le Due de Savoie d'alors, aujourd'hui 
Roi d'ltalie. Cette Division prit une part brillante k la campagne, surtout k 
Santa Lucia, ou elle couvrit la retraite et sauva I'Armee piemontaise, en sou- 
tenant pendant une demie journee le choc de I'armee de Radetzky, Elle con- 
tribua aussi k la defense de Custoza, ou la defaite fut aussi glorieuse que la 

' Delia Rocca fit la campagne de 1849 comme General de Brigade, ayant sous 
ses ordres les Colonels Mollard, aujourd'hui General dans I'Armee fran9aise, 
et Cialdini, qui prise k un haut degre la capacite militaire, le coup d'oeil, la 
science, I'audace, au besoin, de son ancien General. Dans la campagne de 
1859 Delia Rocca fut ce que La Marmora est aujourd'hui, Chef d'Etat Major 
de I'Armee. Dans la campagne de 1860-61, il commanda le 5. me Corps 
d'Armee avec lequel il assiegea Anc6ne du c6te droit, et prit ensuit en trois 
jours la place de Capoue. Apres de siege d'Anc6ne, Delia Rocca fut nomme 
General d'Armee ; apres celui de Capoue, il obtint la medaille d'or de la valeur 
militaire. En 1859, le Roi lui avait donne I'ordre de I'Annonciade, qui est la 
Toison d'Or et la Jarretiere de la dynastie de Savoie, et il obtint le lendemain 
matin le Grand Cordon de la Legion d'Honneur, Delia Rocca a rempli plus- 
ieurs missions k I'etranger, et il est Senateur. 

* Sa figure peu expansive, ses manieres aristocratiques, son maintien tout 
anglais, sa modestie qui le rend peu comunicatif, font du General Delia Rocca 
un homme peu populaire, mais sa capacite et son experience ne sont mises en 
doute par personne. . . .' 


retired from the Prussian alliance. In fact, the Emperor 
Napoleon, who always wished us well, had started the 
idea of a congress with this very object, but owing to the 
absurd pretentions of Austria it fell through. She de- 
manded that the Italian representatives were not to men- 
tion Venice, and the Prussians were not to speak of the 
Northern Duchies. So France withdrew, and King 
William, who until then had turned a deaf ear to the 
warlike councils of Bismarck, suddenly resolved to vindi- 
cate his rights to Holstein, acquired by the Treaty of 
Gastein. On June i6th Prussia invaded the Duchies. 
I had already received orders on the 9th to move towards 
Chiesi, and on the loth my troops started for Asola. 
Next day I spent at Cremona, where La Marmora pre- 
sided at a council of war, to arrange the march towards 
the Mincio, and decide whether or no Cremona should be 
left armed. The heads of the bridges were already 
fortified, and it was determined to leave them so in case 
a retreat upon that town should be necessary. 

What a miserable campaign it was. Not only for 
what the public knew and saw, but for all that was going 
on under the surface, and which only came to light on 
the eve of our departure. Prussia, as I have said, declared 
war on the i6th. Our government at Florence was at 
that time in the throes of a ministerial crisis, owing to the 
sudden departure of the president of the Council to join 
the army. At that moment a note reached Florence from 
the Prussian government, who, after trying in vain, through 
its agents, to combine a plan of campaign with the 
Italian government, suddenly proposed one which de- 
prived our army of every liberty of action, and used it 
almost entirely to the benefit of Prussia. The note was 
sent first to La Marmora, who deemed it offensive and 
unacceptable, and having sent in his resignation, paid no 
further attention to the matter. Usedom, the Prussian 


minister at Florence, was charged to present another 
copy, which fell into the hands of the king. A reply at 
that moment was impossible, owing to there being no 
ministry extant; so the king named Jacini provisionally 
Minister of Foreign Affairs until the arrival of Visconti- 
Venosta, then our ambassador at Constantinople. A 
third copy was sent to Jacini, which, like all telegrams 
sent to Florence during those days of confusion, remained 
unanswered. Even La Marmora, in his headquarters, did 
not succeed in obtaining any reply from the capital. On 
the 19th June he telegraphed to Jacini, * Si je ne regois 
pas ordre contraire du Roi demain j'enverrai la declara- 
tion de guerre k Mantoue.' The king himself telegraphed 
back immediately, * Send declaration of war to Austria. 
— Victor Emanuel.' 

At six in the morning of the 20th June Colonel 
Bariola, assistant chief of the staff, sent a letter to the 
officer in command at Mantua, addressed to the Archduke 
Albert, commander-in-chief of the Austrian army in the 
Venetian provinces, to notify the declaration of war from 
Victor Emanuel to the Emperor of Austria. The same 
day I received orders to advance on Gazzoldo from Asola. 
The so-called army of the Mincio was well found and 
ready, and we supposed Cialdini to be in the same con- 
dition. We knew that the volunteers under Garibaldi 
were two or three times more numerous than had been 
expected, which, however embarrassing to the minister of 
war, who had to find provisions and arms, yet augured 
well, and the dash and enthusiasm of all those young 
fellows gave hopes of glorious deeds being accomplished. 
My own troops had shown satisfactory proofs of disci- 
pline and ardour. I forgot the bad impressions and 
presentiments, and hoped that our arms would be 

On the morning of the 23d I left Gazzoldo for the 


left bank of the Mincio. The ist and 3d army corps 
(General Durando's and mine) had orders to cross the 
river, while the 2d army corps (Cucchiari's) was to keep 
watch on Mantua, and form a reserve for the other two. 
His right was to extend from Goito to Curtalone, his left 
from Goito to Roverbella and Marmirolo. 

On the 22d June the king and La Marmora came 
from Canneto to Gazzoldo to consult with me about the 
passage of the Mincio. They were then convinced, owing 
to erroneous information, that the Austrians, about eighty 
thousand strong, were concentrated beyond the Adige 
round Verona, and that the Quadrilateral was free. So 
we were sent to take up positions on the heights to the 
north, between Pastrengo and Villafranca. At eight in the 
morning of the 23d the divisions of the ist army corps 
crossed the Mincio — Cerale by the bridge of Mozambano, 
Sirtori by that of Borghetto, Brignone at Molino di Volta, 
while Pianell remained to the right in observation before 
Peschiera. Three of my divisions — Bixio, Prince Humbert, 
and Govone — crossed by the bridge of Goito ; the 4th, 
Cugia, by a military bridge at Ferri. The division of the 
cavalry, commanded by General De Sonnaz, under the 
immediate orders of the chief headquarters, had crossed 
the bridge of Goito before us. 

After taking leave of the king I remember stopping 
on the bridge to inform La Marmora of certain orders I 
had issued to my generals ; for instance, to Bixio to place 
his column on the right flank, ready to oppose any attack 
which might be made from Mantua. La Marmora 
shrugged his shoulders, and answered, ' Oh no, it is quite 
useless ; you had better cancel that order.' I had not 
time to do so, for Bixio had only gone a few steps when 
a small detachment of Austrians were seen on his right 
flank. As these might have been followed by others I 
held to my own arrangement. 


Owing to various circumstances we were later than we 
had planned. Crossing the Mincio took several hours, 
and night overtook us in the neighbourhood of Goito. 
The troops bivouacked in the open, and I and my staff 
slept in a cottage hard by. 


Defective Reconnaissance — Prince Humbert under Fire — I search in vain for 
the Commander-in-Chief — I am ordered to hold Villafranca — Our 
Retreat towards Goito — La Marmora throws up His Command — Our 
Fatal Mistakes. 

Much has been said and written about Custoza. My 

account is taken from my notes, and touches chiefly on 

the events in which I took part. Unfortunately, I did not 

set down the exact hours at which various engagements 

were fought ; had I done so it might have served to correct 

many erroneous statements. 

At dawn, on the 24th June, I was on foot to see my 

divisions start. The sleep of the men had been disturbed 

by high wind and showers of rain, which, however, cooled 

the stifling atmosphere for a few hours. Towards noon 

the heat was as bad as ever. The march had already 

begun, the division of Prince Humbert, taking the Rover- 

bella road to the right, in the direction of Villafranca ; in 

the centre, Bixio, with his division, was to occupy the 

Ganfardine, not far from Villafranca, on the road to 

Sommacompagna ; while Govone's division, in the rear,, 

formed the reserve on the Massimbona road, which led 

to Pozzo Moretta. The division of General Cugia, which 

had crossed the Mincio by the military bridge, marched 



towards Rosegaferro, to join at the foot of the hills with 
Bixio's division on one side, and the right wing of the ist 
army corps (Brignone) on the other. The brigade Pra- 
lormo, consisting of the light cavalry of Saluzzo and the 
lancers of Foggia, followed Bixio. The Alessandria light 
cavalry were distributed among the various divisions, and 
part of them were attached to my headquarters. 

The division of cavalry, commanded by General de 
Sonnaz, and under the orders of the commander-in-chief, 
had been the first to cross the bridge on the 23d. Charged 
with reconnoitring in the Quadrilateral, they did not go 
beyond Villafranca, and on the strength of this the 
general assured the commander-in-chief that there were 
no Austrians in the Quadrilateral. This report, which, 
unfortunately, agreed with news received by the intelli- 
gence department, persuaded La Marmora that he could, 
with impunity, send two army corps to take up positions 
on the hills between Salionze, Valeggio and Sommacam- 
pagna on the opposite side of the Mincio. The order 
of the day, communicated to me, said simply, 'Your 
Excellency will advance to-morrow morning before four, 
taking all due precautions, with your four divisions, and 
place them as you think best between Villafranca and 
Sommacampagna. On your right you will join with the 
2d army corps at Roverbella and Marmirolo by means of 
the cavalry of the aforesaid 2d corps. The ist army 
corps will extend by Sona and S. Giustina towards 
Pastrengo, with its headquarters at Castelnuovo. The 
commander of the 3d corps will inform the chief head- 
quarters as soon as he can of the place he has selected for 
the headquarters of the 3d corps.' As I rode with my 
staff we heard the roar of cannon, and putting our horses 
to a sharp trot, we arrived just as the Austrian cavalry had 
made its first charge against the Parma brigade. This is 
what had occurred. 


The divisions of Bixio and Prince Humbert were 
advancing by two nearly parallel roads — the i6th towards 
Villafranca, the 7th towards the Ganfardine — when they 
were informed that detachments of Austrian cavalry, 
followed by artillery, were scouring the country round 
Villafranca. Both commanders sent out staff officers to 
obtain news, and the prince was assured that, though a 
few scouts were to be seen in the direction of Calori, 
Villafranca was entirely free. He entered the town, 
followed by the Parma brigade, and marched through it as 
far as the farm of S. Giovanni. There he halted, cover- 
ing the front and flanks of the brigade with battalions of 
Bersaglieri, while he sent back to order the mixed brigade 
to hurry up to his aid. 

While getting the Parma brigade into line a large 
body of cavalry was seen in the distance — squadrons of the 
Emperor's Hussars and of the Trani Uhlans, with a battery 
of horse artillery. One squadron came up at a gallop to 
within five hundred paces, but some shells and canister 
from the cannon stationed in the road, and the hot fire 
of the Bersaglieri put them to flight. This must have 
been about a quarter to seven. At that moment the head 
of the column of Bixio's division came up, and he im- 
mediately sent his advanced guard to join the i6th division 
and cover Villafranca on the side of Sommacampagna, 
whence the squadrons of Colonel Pulz were advancing. 
After a short struggle the latter launched his men against 
the troops of Prince Humbert, upon which the commander 
of the Parma brigade, General Ferrero, immediately ordered 
the battalions to form squares to resist cavalry. Suddenly, 
from a dense covert, emerged Hussars and Uhlans, who 
charged at full gallop. The prince, followed by some of 
his officers, had ridden forward to make sure of the flight 
of the first squadron, and was still on the road, separated by 
a wide ditch from where the battalions of the Parma brigade 


were forming squares. He had barely time to jump the 
ditch and put himself, with his staff and Ferrero, in the 
centre of the first square in order to oppose the charge of 
the Austrian cavalry. The latter were soon thrown into 
confusion by the fire from the squares, and the furious 
attacks of the Alessandria light cavalry. The Uhlans 
turned and fled. Some fell into the deep ditch skirting 
the Verona road, others were killed by the fire of our 
infantry and artillery, and many were made prisoners. It 
was said that out of six hundred hardly two hundred 
answered the roll-call. The heir to the throne received his 
baptism of fire bravely, showing that he inherited the 
valour of his race. In that first encounter he manifested 
all the qualities of a good soldier — dash and ardour in the 
first instance, coolness and firmness during action. 

I arrived at Villafranca as the first attack ended, and 
at once sent the squadron of light cavalry of Alessandria, 
which formed the escort at my headquarters, to the 

The day had begun favourably for the 3d corps, but 
badly for the ist How incorrect was the information 
given to the chief headquarters as to the movements of 
the enemy may be gathered by what happened to the 
7th and the i6th divisions. During the day and night 
of the 23d the Austrians had occupied the heights, which 
were the very objects of our advance, and the divisions 
of Durando's corps had suddenly come face to face with 
the enemy. The advance guard of the 5th division (Sirtori) 
missed their way, and instead of taking the country 
road of S. Rocco and Palazzuolo, took the high road to 
Castelnuovo, thus outstripping the ist division (Cerale), 
of which they became the advanced guard. The ist 
division thus being uncovered, came upon the enemy, and 
were unable to execute their formation without confusion. 
On the other hand, the left wing of this division came 


unexpectedly upon the Austrians a mile from Oliosi, 
and was forced into an engagement, and routed before 
the other divisions were able to render assistance. 

General Cerale was warned of the presence of the 
enemy after he had started ; but, unaware of the mistakes 
already committed, he determined to carry out his orders, 
and advanced towards Castelnuovo. Seeing the heights 
facing Salionze occupied, he ordered the Pisa brigade to 
attack, when the commander, General Villarey, was killed. 
Cerale was himself severely wounded, and the division, 
overpowered by the ever-increasing numbers of the 
enemy, retreated in confusion upon Monzambano. 

The Forli brigade, which had advanced as far as Oliosi, 
was attacked by a strong force of Uhlans and infantry, and 
driven back to Valeggio. 

The 3d brigade (Brignone), which formed the extreme 
right of the ist corps, had advanced to within a short 
distance of my troops, on the tableland of Gherla, a 
central point between the plain and the hills. There they 
met La Marmora. He always rode out in the early morn- 
ing, and had unexpectedly found himself, with only one 
aide-de-camp, on\ the field of battle. Ignorant of the 
enemy's position, he ordered Brignone to attack the heights, 
which he found already occupied by the enemy. Both 
parties were surprised, and a fierce struggle ensued at 
Monte Torre. Brignone commanded the Lombard and 
the Sardinian Grenadiers ; the latter, led by Prince 
Amadeus, repulsed the Austrians several times ; but 
while they received continuous reinforcements our numbers 
diminished, owing to the many killed and wounded — 
among the latter the prince. These bad tidings were 
brought to me bit by bit by the various officers I had 
despatched to glean information ; so I gathered that I 
had better establish my headquarters provisionally at Villa- 
franca, whence I could prevent the enemy's advance upon 


Valeggio, and send help where needed to the troops engaged 
near by. In obedience to orders, I sent one of my officers 
to Valleggio, where I supposed the army headquarters to 
be, to give information of the engagement of the 7th and 
loth divisions, and of the place where I had established 
myself. He returned in about two hours, with his horse 
quite knocked up. Having found no one at Valeggio, 
he proceeded to Cerlungo, where nearly all the officers of 
the army headquarters still were ; but La Marmora had 
not been seen since daybreak, when he rode off, without 
leaving any orders, while the king had mounted his 
horse at the first cannon shot, and no one knew where 
he or La Marmora had gone to. My aide-de-camp then 
went to Goito, with the same result. Unable to obtain 
any information of the movements of either the king or 
La Marmora, he galloped back to Villafranca. During 
the whole of the 24th June the headquarters of the 
commander-in-chief were non-existent. 

I sent aides-de-camp in various directions to search for 
the king and La Marmora, and seeing that the divisions 
Bixio and Prince Humbert maintained their positions on 
the Sommacampagna and Povegliano roads, and that for 
the moment the Austrian cavalry and artillery had with- 
drawn, I went to congratulate the prince on his success- 
ful conduct, and then rode on to find General Bixio, and 
tell him that, after searching in vain for the commander- 
in-chief, I considered it advisable to wait for fresh orders 
before advancing towards Sommacampagna. I also 
informed him that a struggle was going on at Monte 
Torre, in which the left of the ist corps was engaged, 
and we arranged a diversion to endeavour to take the 
enemy on the flank or the rear, and liberate Brignone. 
We settled, however, that he should wait for a positive 
order from General La Marmora or from me, and mean- 
while retain his positions, which formed the extreme right 


of the long line of the ist and 3d army corps, extending 
from Peschiera to Villafranca. 

In the meantime, I sent two squadrons of the Saluzzo 
light cavalry and two of the Foggia Lancers to the 7th 
division, and ordered Cugia to join them, and extend his 
division towards Pozzo Moretta. He was slightly checked, 
and the division Govone was terribly retarded by the 
civil and military transport which encumbered the roads. 
As soon as I knew that Govone had arrived at Quaderni, 

I ordered him to advance with the Alpine brigade towards 
the foot of the hills, to unite with Cugia's division, and to 
send the Pistoza brigade to Villafranca in reserve. 

I had just given these orders when General La Mar- 
mora arrived from Monte Torre between eight and nine 
o'clock. He had heard firing at Villafranca, and came to 
see what had happened, and at the same time to tell me 
to send help to the 3d division of the ist corps. He was 
in a state of great anxiety, impressed by the imminent 
danger, and also by having just discovered that his 
sight had deteriorated so much that he was unable, even 
with field-glasses, to judge either of the number or the 
distance of the enemy's forces. He approved of the choice 
of Villafranca, and ordered me to hold the position at all 
hazards, and at the same time to send what help I could 
to Monte Torre. On leaving, La Marmora again bade me 
not abandon Villafranca until the plain on that side should 
be clear of the baggage waggons and military train. I did 
not see him all day, and had no orders from him after 

I I a.m. until 6 p.m., when the retreat across the Mincio 
was commanded. 

La Marmora had hardly left when the king arrived, 
also extremely anxious, having just seen Brignone's troops 
repulsed — almost put to flight — at Monte Torre. I do not 
remember his first words, but I know I could not restrain 
my indignation at the ignorance of the staff concerning 


the positions of the enemy. Trusting to false information 
that the Austrians were on the other side of the Adige, 
when they were in the Quadrilateral, they had thrown 
our army into the clutches of the enemy. I also alluded 
to the inexpedience of the long line extending from 
Peschiera to Villafranca, and to the lack of an army head- 
quarters. I related how my aide-de-camp had in vain 
gone from Valeggio to Cerlungo, and then across the 
Mincio to Goito, without being able to report the events 
of the morning, receive new orders, or make known where 
I had taken up my position. My words were bitter ; but 
the king knew I did not cast the responsibility of these 
errors on him, and he told me how he had been assured 
that the enemy were on the other side of the Adige, and 
how perplexed he had been at finding that the chief of the 
staff had left Cerlungo at dawn without having arranged 
any plan of attack with him, or confirmed the proposed 
transfer of the army headquarters from Cerlungo to 
Valeggio. I told His Majesty of the orders left by La 
Marmora, and he confirmed them, bidding me hold the 
positions until I received other orders from him or from 
his chief of the staff. He then left for Valeggio, where 
he expected to find La Marmora and the two divisions of 
the 2d corps (Cucchiari), which were to arrive there before 
noon. After the departure of the king an officer of 
General Bixio's staff came to ask me if the general could 
continue his march towards Sommacampagna or, at any- 
rate, towards the Ganfardine, whence the light cavalry 
of the brigades Pulz and Bujanowich were constantly 
attacking us. I was obliged to refuse his request, and 
told him of the commands left by General La Marmora 
and the king — that the 7th and i6th divisions were to 
keep on the defensive and hold their positions until further 
orders. After 11 a.m. General La Marmora sent me a 
few words by a light cavalry soldier from Monte Torre, 


where he found that the Lombard Grenadiers had re- 
treated, and part of the Grenadiers of Sardinia had given 
way on hearing that their commander, Prince Amadeus, 
was wounded. Only one half stood firm, and heroic- 
ally contested every inch of ground. La Marmora informed 
me that he had ordered General Cugia to go with his 
whole division to Monte Torre and Monte Croce, and 
General Govone to occupy Custoza and Belvedere with 
his artillery and the Alpine brigade. He again impressed 
upon me the necessity of holding the positions at Villa- 
franca, and asked me to send what aid I could to Govone 
at Custoza, and by word of mouth he placed two regiments 
of cavalry at my disposal. Soon afterwards I heard that 
Cucchiari's troops, which ought to have arrived at Valeggio 
before noon, were not even in sight. As I had sent every 
man I could spare without dangerously diminishing my 
own forces, I wrote to the commander of the 19th, General 
Longoni, who I supposed had been at Roverbella for some 
time, to tell him of the straits Govone and Cugia were in, 
and ask him to advance on Custoza, preceded by his artillery. 
I calculated the artillery ought to arrive at Custoza before 
4 p.m. and that Govone would be able to hold out until 
then. The disastrous news that the ist corps had crossed 
to the right bank of the Mincio had just reached me, 
and confirmed my determination to await formal orders 
before moving from my positions. 

About half-past three Govone sent word that all the 
positions had been retaken from the enemy, whose guns 
had not replied during the past hour. But he feared 
another attack, and his ammunition was exhausted. So 
I sent orders to Cugia to divide his ammunition with 
him, which was done. Shortly afterwards Cugia informed 
me that an ever-increasing number of Austrians were 
gathering in front of him on the heights of Beretara, and 
more troops were pouring out of Verona. His men 


were so tired that he feared they could not stand against 
these fresh troops, and he asked leave to retreat. I also 
learned that Belvedere had been strongly attacked, and 
that Govone's troops were beginning to give way. To 
both generals I sent orders to retreat on Villafranca. 
When the order reached the 9th division it had already 
fallen back on Valeggio. The 8th descended into Villa- 
franca, leaving the 52d regiment behind, still defending 
itself furiously. It ultimately reached Valeggio, where it 
remained till the morning of the 25th. 

Hardly had I sent the orders to retreat to the 8th and 
9th divisions when Colonel Avogadro arrived from Goito 
with a message from La Marmora. Repeating his in- 
junctions to hold my positions, he asked for information 
as to what was happening on the heights, and placed two 
other regiments of cavalry at my disposal, in case a general 
retreat became necessary. I charged Avogadro to tell 
La Marmora that I considered a general retreat unavoid- 
able, because the 8th and 9th were retiring, while Longoni's 
division had never arrived, and the vicinity of Villafranca 
was still encumbered with baggage waggons. The case 
would have been very different if the i8th and 19th had 
come up in time. Avogadro had passed my aide-de-camp, 
with his horse dead lame, and brought me a message from 
him that the artillery of the 19th must already be on its 
way, as General Longoni had promised to despatch it 
immediately. It only arrived when the troops were pre- 
paring for the general retreat, and was sent straight 
back to Roverbella. Soon after Avogadro left I received 
the order from La Marmora to retreat, with the whole 
army corps, across the Mincio, sending on first all the 
military and civil train. 

For two hours the long line of waggons was defiling in 
the direction of Goito, and it was dusk before the i6th 
division took its place in the rear. To Bixio I entrusted 


the protection of the retreat, during which the rearguard 
was several times hotly attacked by the Austrian cavalry. 
Half way I ordered my chief of the staff to establish our 
headquarters at Marengo, near Goito, and with an aide- 
de-camp I rode to Cerlungo to find the king and La 
Marmora, and obtain orders for the morrow. I started 
about half-past eight, hoping to arrive by ten, and to find 
them still up. But I became entangled in the confusion 
of the transport waggons, had to ride in the bottom of 
the ditches, and wait a long time before I could cross 
the bridge. It was one o'clock in the morning before I 
reached the army headquarters, and I found that the king 
and the chief of the staff had retired to their rooms, which 
were near each other. The king received me immediately, 
and said La Marmora insisted on resigning his post as 
chief of the staff, and wished me to assume it at once. But 
I pointed out that, in the present condition of affairs, I 
could not be of any service. The division of the army, 
and all the arrangements which could not be changed 
without turning everything upside down, would have 
paralysed my initiative. I could not eliminate La Mar- 
mora or deprive Cialdini of his command ; it was therefore 
absolutely necessary that La Marmora should remain and 
carry out his plans. These and other arguments I used 
to the king, and begged him to let me try and persuade La 
Marmora to remain at his post. I found Alphonse walking 
up and down his room, half undressed, giving vent to his 
grief by broken words and gestures. Forgetting the past, 
I took his hand, drew him towards me, and embraced 
him.. I tried to console him, but was so much moved I 
could hardly speak. I strove to persuade him that his 
plain duty at such a moment was to stand by the king, 
unite our forces, and take an immediate revenge, which 
would allow us to continue the campaign and attain what 
all desired. It was in vain ; he refused to listen. Tossing 


his long, hairy arms about, he vehemently rejected every 
proposal as to keeping the command. At one moment he 
took up a revolver from the table and said, ' Rather than 
retain the command under such conditions, I will blow out 
my brains.' Then he sat down, with his head between his 
hands, and reiterated all he had told me that morning — 
the pain and humiliation when he found he could no 
longer see ; that the battalions of the enemy and their 
movements had been pointed out to him in vain ; every- 
thing was indistinct. Sadly he repeated, ' All is over with 
me ; I am no longer fit to command.' 

I went back to the king to announce my failure. ' I 
am not surprised,' said Victor Emanuel ; ' he said 
almost the same things to me, and he is determined to 
resign. He wants me to call Cialdini, but I feel that 
would be falling from the frying-pan into the fire.' ' If 
Your Majesty will take my advice,' I replied, ' you will 
make Bixio your chief of the staff.' * Oh ! ' exclaimed the 
king, with a start, ' you are mad ! Bixio is very young, 
and the junior general. Who would obey him ? ' * I 
would. Bonaparte was a general at twenty-seven,' I 
answered ; ' and, believe me, Bixio is a great general.' 
'That may be, but with Cialdini and the others ... we 
should raise a hornets' nest. We must take some decision,' 
continued the king, thoughtfully. ' Then take Cialdini, Your 
Majesty. He is very popular at this moment, and all will 
go well if he accepts.' ' Well,' said the king, * to-morrow 
we shall know what he has accomplished.' ' If he is ready,' 
I said, *we might recommence without loss of time. In 
twenty-four hours my corps can be in fighting order. 
Cucchiari's has done nothing, and Durando can re- 
constitute his immediately.' ' Yes ; but first I must see 
Cialdini in private,' and the king inquired where he could 
find the general, as he would take my brother Frederick 
and meet him in some isolated cottage. His Majesty 


dismissed me, saying, ' I shall come and see you soon.' I 
went back to La Marmora, and again begged him not to 
abandon the king. He was calmer, and held out his 
hand, which I took warmly ; I do not think I should have 
done so had I known of the disastrous telegrams which he 
had sent to the capital at half-past ten that night, and 
which struck the whole country dumb with grief next 
morning. {^See note, p. 259.) 

As may be gathered from the above description, the 
battle of Custoza took us by surprise. The want of foresight 
of the chief of the staff, then practically commander-in- 
chief of the army,^ is, and probably always will be, in- 
explicable. The man who sent the declaration of war 
ought to have had a matured plan ready, and the com- 
mander of each corps should have been in possession of 
the minutest details. Instead of which, the crossing of 
the Mincio was treated as though it had been a simple 
change of quarters, and the instructions given to the com- 
manders of the different corps contained no hint of any 
plan of battle. The army headquarters trusted blindly 
in insufficient and false information, and the orders given 
on the 23d to the general commanding the cavalry 
division were so indefinite and insufficient that he did not 
push his reconnaissance in the Quadrilateral beyond Villa- 
franca, whereas he ought to have reconnoitred the posi- 
tions of S. Massimo, Croce Bianco and Santa Lucia on 
the right bank of the river. Having stopped at Villa- 
franca, he declared there was no enemy in the Quadri- 
lateral, save a few scouts. This coincided with the infor- 
mation of the Intelligence Department, whereupon the 
chief of the staff took it for granted that the whole Austrian 

1 The ministry had submitted to the king for signature a decree naming 
La Marmora generalissimo of the army, as Czarnowsky had been in 1849. 
But Victor Emanuel refused to sign it, and substituted chief of the staff for 
generalissimo. La Marmora, however, very likely without intending it, thanks 
to his domineering nature, really exercised the functions of generalissimo. 


army was concentrated behind the Adige, and that it was 
for us to drive them out on the 25th. General Durando, 
commanding the ist corps, had received, or, at anyrate, 
had given, orders to his subordinates on the morning of 
the 24th to occupy the positions between Castelnuovo and 
Valeggio — the very positions which had been occupied 
during the previous evening by the Austrians, who atacked 
the divisions Sirtori and Cerale early on the 24th. 

The primary, if not the most fatal, error of the chief 
of the staff lay in thus acting without exact information. 
Occupied in directing the politics of the government, 
which detained him in Florence far from the army until 
the last moment, he ought never to have assumed the 
responsibility of the command at the king's side. The 
political services rendered by him during the campaign 
' were,' he writes,^ ' of far greater importance than a victory 
on the plains of Custoza.' They would have been more 
efficacious had he remained at his post as president of the 
Council ; he would then have been able to correct the 
erroneous opinions of the other ministers, who misunder- 
stood or misinterpreted the conditions of the Treaty of 
Alliance with Prussia, and advanced pretensions which 
might have compromised not only the fate of Venice but 
of all Italy. 

I have said that acting on insufficient information was 
the principal, if not the fatal, error which led to the dis- 
aster of Custoza. The first mistake was the division of 
the army into two independent parts. Cialdini, command- 
ing the so-called army of the Po, received no orders- 
only suggestions, from the chief of the staff — suggestions 
to which, on two separate occasions, at least, he replied, 
* I cannot come ; I am not ready.' As a fact, on the 24th 
he was not ready to cross the Po, but he might have been 
on the 25th or 26th. The chief of the staff ought to have 

^ See Lettera al Massari, 19th August 1866, in Ricordi Biografici, p. 369. 


been informed of this ; the army of the king would then 
probably have either only threatened the Austrians from 
the opposite bank of the Mincio, or have crossed in force 
at Borghetto, and taken up a strong position at and 
around Valeggio to attract the notice of the enemy, and 
thus facilitate Cialdini's passage of the Po. Then Arch- 
duke Albert would not have been able to try and outflank 
us from Goito or from Mantua. We should have menaced 
his flank, and his communication with Verona might have 
been broken. He would have been forced to retire by the 
Tyrol or accept battle between two fires. 

Had the army been kept together, our great superiority 
of numbers must have given us the victory. An encounter 
with the enemy was so little expected on the 24th at head- 
quarters that, although the troops had crossed to the left 
bank of the Mincio, the headquarters remained on the 
right at Cerlungo, instead of moving to Valeggio, the 
central position of the line from Castelnuovo to Villa- 
franca, so that the commander-in-chief had no headquarters 
during the whole course of the battle. Another grave 
mistake was allowing all the transport, ammunition and 
commissariat waggons to follow immediately behind the 
army, encumbering all the roads, causing endless con- 
fusion in the plain of Villafranca, and preventing rein- 
forcements to arrive in time. It also greatly retarded 
the retreat of the 3d corps, and exposed the army to the 
danger of being attacked on the flank or the rear. 


1866 (third part) 

Disastrous Telegrams — Cialdini takes Command of 150,000 Men — I Command 
a Reconnaissance in Force — It is Countermanded — General Austrian 
Retreat after Sadowa — Prussia Signs Preliminaries of Peace without 
consulting Italy — Prince Jerome Napoleon — La Marmora compelled to 
ask for an Armistice — We are threatened by France and Prussia — La 
Marmora sacrifices his Popularity. 

After leaving Victor Emanuel and La Marmora at Cer- 
lungo, I rode to Goito in the hopes of finding my troops. 
But although the night was far advanced, few had been 
able to cross the bridges, and others were detained by the 
confusion of the waggons on the road. I succeeded, how- 
ever, in getting through, and entered the first house in 
Goito I found open. In a big room on the ground floor 
were several officers asleep on straw, and on a mattress, 
with a rug thrown over him, General Cucchiari. Not to 
disturb him, I lay down quietly on the straw; no one 
had seen me enter, or knew I was there till I said good- 
morning at dawn, when my divisions, Bixio and Prince 
Humbert, arrived. After seeing them march past in 
splendid order, I returned to Cerlungo, where La Marmora 
had called a council of generals. We were to discuss and 
decide upon our future movements and plans — whether to 
retire or to summon Cialdini's army corps from the other 
side of the Po, and, with the united armies, reassume the 
offensive. But, as usually happens on such occasions, no 
one's opinion was positively asked. He who had sum- 
moned us stated his own opinions, which assumed the 



form of commands, and it was resolved to retreat upon 
the positions we had occupied on the nth June — Piacenza, 
Cremona and its vicinity. And yet, on the 25th, General 
Pianell had been able to reorganise the ist corps (Dur- 
ando) ; the 2d (Cucchiari) had taken no part in the action 
of the preceding day ; and the 3d (my corps) was also 
reorganised, and full of 'go.' We had, therefore, over 
eighty thousand men and one hundred and fifty guns in 
a strong position, with our right leaning on the Mincio, 
and the Pass of Goito in our hands. But La Marmora, 
either disheartened, or wishing to give the king and the 
ministers time to arrive at some determination about the 
nomination of a new chief of the staff, was about to issue 
orders for the retreat. 

Although my opinion had not been asked, I could not 
refrain from going to La Marmora and to the king to say 
that I thought it would be most discouraging to send 
the troops back to their first positions, and thus acknow- 
ledge a defeat they had hardly realised. I implored that, 
at all events, mine should be stationed behind the Oglio, 
a strong position, whence we could soon return to the 

For once La Marmora listened, and approved of my 
idea. His first orders were maintained for the other 
divisions, but mine started on the 26th for Gazzoldo and 
Acquanegra towards the Oglio. Bixio was charged with 
the defence of the rearguard, and did it admirably. On 
the 29th my headquarters were at Piadena, where I re- 
ceived the first letters and papers I had seen since we 
crossed the Mincio on the 22d. For the first time I saw 
the telegrams despatched from Cerlungo to Florence on 
the evening of the 24th and the morning of the 25th.^ 

^ The telegrams we now read in the files of the official papers of the 24th 
and 25th June 1866 are different from those I saw at Piadena. The former 
would hardly have caused the anger and indignation I felt. I quote a tele 


I was still under the painful impression of the first 
telegrams, the effect of which there had been an attempt 
to mitigate,^ when, soon after dawn on the morning of 
the 2d July, Victor Emanuel, his cigar in his mouth, 
entered my tiny room at Piadena. I was up, but not 
dressed, and my clothes occupied the single chair ; so 
the king sat on the bed and told me he had seen 
Cialdini, and La Marmora had gone to Parma to meet 
him. At first Cialdini absolutely refused to take the 
place of La Marmora, and advised the king to make me 
chief of the staff, assuring him that there would be no 
friction between us. Experience had, however, taught 
me that, with every good intention, my colleague could 
not curb his temper, impatient of any sort of control. 
Victor Emanuel knew this as well as I did, and assured 
Cialdini that 1 had refused, and it was no use to ask 
me again. 

They then agreed that the whole army should be con- 
centrated on the Po, and that Cialdini was to have the 
command of one hundred and fifty thousand men, form- 
ing an army for active operations, while the rest, nearly 

gram of the 25th from the Life of La Marmora, by Massari (page 351). It is 
less offensive than the first (of the 24th), which is not given. I leave my 
readers to judge what a disastrous impression even this one must have made on 
the minds of Italians : — ' Yesterday the Austrians attacked the army corps 
Durando and Delia Rocca near Valeggio and Villafranca with their whole force, 
and routed them. The condition of the army is deplorable ; will be powerless 
for action for some time. Five divisions — Cerale, Brignone, Sirtori, Govone, 
Cugia — are disorganised. Austrians do not seem inclined to pursue for the 
moment. Goito, Volta, Cavriana, Solferino are being put into a state of 
defence. Our losses are very heavy, but cannot as yet be estimated. Generals 
Cerale, Dho, Gozzani, Prince Amadeus, wounded ; General Villarey, killed.' 

^ On the 27th June La Marmora despatched the following telegram from 
Redondesco : — ' Now that the details are known, the battle of the 24th is more 
creditable to us than at first appeared. The Austrians remained masters of 
part only of the battlefield, we retained the rest. Our losses were heavy, but 
so were those of the enemy. Most of the troops performed prodigies of valour, 
and the Austrians are certainly convinced by now that the Italian is not inferior 
to the old Piedmontese army.' 


fifty thousand, were to remain in observation in Venetia 
and round the fortresses, under the command of the king, 
with La Marmora as chief of the staff (provisionally, they 
said, but he kept the post until peace was concluded). 
After recounting this, the king at length told me what 
had brought him alone to me at such an hour. 

The evening before news had come that the Archduke 
Albert had crossed the Mincio with part of his army on 
the night of the 30th June, and taken up a position to the 
right near Goito. On the ist July the king and his chief 
of the staff settled to send a reconnaissance in force to 
drive the enemy into the Quadrilateral, and Victor 
Emanuel had come in person to bring me the good 
news that I was to have the command of the expedi- 
tion. I already saw myself at Goito, ready to revenge 
the day of Custoza. On leaving, the king said, ' We 
have prepared everything ; make haste and start, I know 
all will go well.' 

I made such haste that everything was ready that 
evening. We started at nightfall without trumpet or 
drum, the silence only broken by the tramp of the men 
and horses. The soldiers left their heavy knapsacks 
behind, and only carried provisions and ammunition for 
two days. We marched fast, and arrived at Redondesco, 
where we halted, much sooner than we expected. All 
were in high spirits ; they knew or guessed that we were 
going to take our revenge. 

But just as we were preparing for a short rest an 
officer came up at full gallop with counter-orders from 
La Marmora. The affair was to be limited to a simple 
reconnaissance a few troops, the rest were to return 
at once to Piadena. Curses were loud and deep, and I 
must confess I set the example. Charging my chief of 
the staff to see to the retreat on Piadena, I occupied 
myself in preparing the reconnaissance, which I ordered 


to advance as far as the Mincio. On the advent of our 
men, the Austrians, who were just dining, threw away 
pots and plates, and hastened to recross the bridges, 
which they barricaded. 

It was the beginning of the great retreat, which they 
continued, across the Tyrol, beyond the Brenta, the Piave. 
the Tagliamento and the Isonzo, leaving only troops 
enough to garrison the fortresses. The main body had 
been summoned to replace the men who had fallen at 
Sadowa. Had the counter-order of the chief of the staff 
been less clear and peremptory, and deprived me of the 
full powers given by Victor Emanuel on the morning of 
2d July, neither the enemy's flight nor the barricaded 
bridges would have prevented me from following him 
and forcing him to fight. In which case, even without 
the aid of Cialdini, there is no doubt Venetia would have 
been taken and occupied by force of arms. 

I refrained from asking La Marmora why he sent that 
unfortunate counter-order, nor did I go near the king, 
whose headquarters at Piadena were close to mine — I was 
so angry that I feared I might say something I had better 
have left unsaid. A year later, at Turin, I asked La Marmora, 
and his reply was, ' You remember that I resigned after the 
battle of Custoza, but consented to remain as chief of the 
staff until Cialdini, designated by me as my successor, 
should have seen the king. At Parma I met Cialdini 
some days later, and we settled to concentrate the troops 
in a counter-march on Ferrara, when he was to have taken 
the command of three parts of the army, pursue the 
Austrians, and force them to deliver battle in the open 
before crossing the frontier. It was decided that from 
that day I was to communicate every movement of the 
army of the Mincio to him. His Majesty, having been 
informed that part of the Austrian army were moving on 
the opposite side of the Mincio towards Goito, insisted 


on making an attempt on Goito before undertaking 
the counter- march. He arranged everything with me, 
and went straight to order you to carry out his idea. 
This I knew late on the 2d, and, according to my pro- 
mise, telegraphed your departure to Cialdini, and asked 
him to assist you if necessary. He answered that he was 
not ready to support the movement on Goito, begged me 
to suspend it immediately, and detain the troops at 
Piadena and Bozzolo, adding that he would advance his 
corps towards Borgoforte, which might be taken on the 
5th. That is why I sent you orders to return to your 
encampments on the Oglio.' 

Thus an operation ordered by the king, and approved 
by La Marmora, was countermanded by Cialdini — another 
proof of the evil of a divided command. Here I must 
put on record that of the three commanders, the one who 
on that occasion showed most military intuition was 
Victor Emanuel, and he keenly felt and lamented over the 
lost opportunity. 

Before mentioning the political imbroglio which occurred 
in July, when we not only lost valuable time, but ran the 
risk of having to fight not only the Austrians, but the 
French and our allies the Prussians, I must touch on the 
retreat of the enemy. 

The Austrian commanders evidently received news on 
the 3d July of the defeat in Bohemia, accompanied by 
orders to concentrate the troops and to retire upon 
Vienna, renouncing the plan begun on the 30th June by 
the passage of part of the troops to the right bank of the 
Mincio. Orders not to accept battle must already have 
been given on the 2d. Telegrams, announcing the defeat 
of Sadowa, arrived on the 3d and 4th July, accompanied 
by orders to send every available man to the frontier. 
The evacuation began on the 5th July ; twenty thousand 
men were left in Venice, but Verona, Mantua, Peschiera, 


Legnago and Palmanova were denuded of all the troops, 
save those necessary to defend the material of war. 

The archduke, with the greater part of his troops, retired 
during the 6th and 8th behind the Adige, leaving only one 
corps to cover his retreat, which had orders to make use 
of the railway, and from the Tyrol go straight to the 
Danube. We ought to have seized that moment to pursue 
the retreating army, take the fortresses, and carry out, in 
part, the plan sketched by Prussia in that famous note of 
17th June, which so offended La Marmora, and which 
suggested our taking possession of Venetia and opening 
the road towards the Danube. We were prevented from 
doing this, not only by Cialdini's hesitation on the Po, but 
by the far more justifiable hesitation of the king and the 

Then began the political imbroglio. Immediately after 
the defeat of Sadowa, Austria had made, through the 
Emperor Napoleon, the unexpected proposal to King 
Victor Emanuel to cede Venice and some of the for- 
tresses to Italy, with the intention, naturally, of detaching 
us from the Prussian alliance, and being thus enabled to 
send all her troops into Bohemia. But this proposal of 
a cession and a retrocession was doubly offensive to the 
national sentiment ; first, the refusal of the Emperor 
Francis to treat directly with our king ; secondly, seeing 
all chance of our long-wished for revenge escape. There 
was a scream of indignation throughout the country and 
the army. The unpopularity of the measure, and the 
loyalty of the king, who insisted on at once acquainting 
his Prussian ally with the proposal, greatly embarrassed 
the government, and induced them, if not to refuse, at all 
events not to accept the advice of the French Emperor 
immediately. To increase the difficulties of our position 
Napoleon accused Italy of wilfully causing delay. 

Several days passed in this uncertainty, during which 


we consulted Prussia, who turned round and accused us of 
double dealing and weakness, and then suddenly accepted 
proposals made by Austria, and at Nikolsburg (July 2ist) 
signed, without the cognisance of the Italian government, 
an armistice with preliminaries of peace, thus abandoning 
her ally in front of the formidable army collected by 
Austria against themselves. 

All these circumstances called up a fourth direction of 
the army, personified by the government, and representing 
policy and diplomacy, which, I need not say, disagreed 
with the three military chiefs already existing. 

On loth July I had received orders to execute a 
counter-march from the Oglio to Ferrara, and by way of 
Casalmaggiore, where the ist corps met us, went to Parma, 
whence Ferrara could be reached in a few hours. But we 
were delayed twenty-four hours by a collision on the rail- 
way and the want of trucks. 

While the Austrians were retiring from the Quadrilateral, 
Cialdini was besieging Borgoforte. When, on the 8th July, 
he crossed the Po between Carbonarola and Fellonica, the 
commander-in-chief thought it a favourable moment to 
transfer the army of the Mincio to the lower Po. Borgo- 
forte was evacuted by the Austrians on the 1 3th July, the 
last operations having been directed by General Nunziante, 
Duke of Mignano, Cialdini having been called to Ferrara, 
where, at a council presided over by the king, it was 
decided to resume hostilities. 

One army of about one hundred and fifty thousand 
men, under General Cialdini, was to advance towards 
Isongo and Trieste ; another, of less strength, to remain 
in Venetia, near the fortresses, under the king, with La 
Marmora as chief of the staff. The first, composed of 
fourteen divisions, forming five corps — Pianell, Pettiti, 
Cadorna, Brignone, and Sonnaz — with two divisions of 
cavalry, was called the active corps {corpo di spedizione). 


The second of six divisions, forming two corps, Delia 
Rocca and Cucchiari, was called the corps of observation 
{corpo (Tosservazione). 

On July 1 6th 1 left Parma for Ferrara to learn what 
arrangements had been made regarding my army corps. 
I went as seldom as possible to the palace, where the king 
and several of the ministers were staying, but on the 19th 
or 20th I was summoned, for some reason I no longer 
remember, and met Prince Jerome Napoleon, sent by his 
cousin, the emperor, to persuade Victor Emanuel and the 
ministers to accept the conditions proposed by France, i.e., 
an armistice between Italy and Austria, on the basis of the 
cession of the Venetian provinces to Italy. The prince 
gave me no time to salute him, but said, ' Le rot ni'a dit 
qu^il vous avait offert la place de La Marmora le soir mime 
de la bataille de Custoza ; puisque vous Vavez si bien temie 
en 1859 pourquoi ne Vavez-vous pas voulue cette fois?^ 
^ Mais, monseigneurl I replied, 'f avals pour cela de tres 
bonnes raisons, que Sa Majeste a bien voulue cojnprendre et 
accepter! ''Ah! bah I il devait vous y contraindre, et si 
f avals et^ a sa place, et que vous enssiez persiste dans le 
refus,je vous aurais flanque un bon coup de pied . . . quel- 
que part! ' Vous oubliez, monseigneur, quen ce cas f aurais /// 
oblige dajouter d mes autres m,efaits celui de vous le rendre. 
The prince laughed, but afterwards inveighed against the 
state of affairs, and abused La Marmora, Ricasoli, Visconti- 
Venosta, Cialdini, and all who were in power. He declared 
that the king was compromising the existence of the 
country for questions of susceptibility, which he considered 
mere rhetoric. 

In Italy we reason otherwise. The questions of so- 
called susceptibility Victor Emanuel regarded as the 
defence of his own honesty and the honour of the 
country; he therefore resolved to reply — by continuing 
the war. 


The intense desire of the king and of all of us officers 
to see the war recommenced and carried on energetically ; 
Cialdini's activity in getting all his troops across the Adige, 
and sending one division to Maghera to watch the lagoon, 
another to the Val Sugana to help Garibaldi, and Cadorna's 
corps on a forced march towards Trieste ; so well 
carried out that he would infallibly have reached his 
destination in five or six days, was all frustrated by the 
disaster of Lissa. That necessitated a suspension of arms 
on the 26th, and rendered orders and plans of battle use- 
less. It was written that Venice was not to be ours by 
force of arms. 

From Ferrara I was sent to Este, and later to Vicenza. 
With me was only one division (the 1 6th, Prince Humbert's), 
but the other two were to join me. I had been given no 
special orders, and, according to my wont, my first care was 
to be well informed as to the movements of the enemy. I 
learned that from Roverado he intended to try and surprise 
Medici, who was in the Val Sugana on his way to the 
Tyrol, by attacking him on his left flank and rear. I 
warned him, and sent several battalions of Bersaglieri with 
artillery, under Major-General Ferreri, whose expedition 
was, however, paralysed by the suspension of hostilities. 
I then received orders to go to Vicenza. 

La Marmora was compelled to ask for an armistice 
by the force of circumstances. Prussia had signed pre- 
liminaries of peace with Austria, guaranteeing the integrity 
of the Austrian empire, with the exception of the Venetian 
provinces, without warning or consulting her ally. The 
moment -the armistice was signed, Austria reconstituted 
her southern army, and the Archduke Albert turned his 
steps again towards Italy, with an army three times more 
numerous than his former one. His divisions advanced 
towards Isongo and the Tyrol. The Italian government — 
that is Ricasoli and Visconti-Venosta, as well as our 


representatives abroad, wanted to extend our frontiers so 
as to include the territory of Trent, or, at anyrate, what- 
ever ground was occupied by our troops, i.e.y the Uti 
Possidetis. There was every prospect of a furious struggle, 
and La Marmora, fearing we might be worsted, asked for an 
eight days' armistice, in order to discuss matters and treat 
with the archduke. This the latter refused to grant until 
the Italian troops in occupation of the Trent territory and 
those marching on Trieste were recalled. At the expira- 
tion of eight days things stood at the same point as on the 
first. Meanwhile, the Austrian army was daily reinforced, 
and Prussia, who no longer wished to continue the war, 
assumed a threatening attitude, and tried to force us to 
conclude the armistice. The Emperor Napoleon, angry at 
his mediation not having been accepted, also threatened 
us, and accused us of risking a general war by refusing 
to simply accept Venetia. It was patent to all that an 
armistice followed by a peace was inevitable, and that 
we should be baulked of our revenge. A prolongation of 
the suspension of arms for another week was therefore 

On July 28th I entered Vicenza, to the relief of the 
inhabitants, who had been left without a garrison, and 
feared molestation from the Austrians at Verona. I should 
have enjoyed my stay in the beautiful city had I been less 
tormented by the fear of a more or less dishonourable 
peace. I did not ask what was going on, and no informa- 
tion was given to me, and although the king was near by 
at Padua, I avoided going there until called. Some days 
after the second suspension of arms Victor Emanuel sent 
for me ; he was ill and low spirited — a rare thing — and had 
been bled twice by the doctor's orders. Worried and per- 
plexed as to what decision to take, he wished to have my 
opinion and advice. I answered briefly, not that I was 
offended by having been told so little about the political 


and military conditions of the country, but after witnessing 
almost daily for sixteen years the pitfalls and the diffi- 
culties which surround the life of a Constitutional sovereign, 
I knew what his good intentions were worth, and what 
practical use he could make of the advice of sincere friends, 
when that advice was contrary to the deliberations of the 
ministers. So I replied that I was not in a position to 
express an opinion, or to give any advice, as I knew 
nothing of what was going on. When I said this, Victor 
Emanuel looked me straight in the face with the half- 
affectionate, half-sceptical, but wholly good-natured 
expression I knew so well and loved so dearly, and half 
sighing, half laughing, with the same tone of voice in which 
twenty years before he had said to me, ' Ld,^ la dam cria nen 
i fareu tut lo ch'a veul] he said, ' You are right ; it shall not 
occur again. Henceforward I shall tell you everything, and 
you must advise me.' He then initiated me into the 
difficulties of his position, in the midst of a terrible struggle 
between the opinion of his ministers, the just wishes of his 
army and of the nation, which he shared, and the imperious 
will of three European powers far stronger than ourselves. 
He told me several facts which, to my mind, rendered the 
situation exceedingly grave. 

Although La Marmora was no longer chief of the staff 
of the whole army, but only of the corps of observation 
{corpo di osservazione), he continued to exercise the 
functions of generalissimo, and was therefore far better 
informed than myself He considered our position to be 
so perilous that to save the army and the country he 
resolved to sacrifice his popularity to the public wrath, and 
signed the armistice which, in despite of diplomacy, of the 
Italian ministry, and of public opinion, saved Italy from an 
Austrian invasion, and from still greater calamities. 

The armistice had not been signed when I saw the 
king at Padua ; perhaps he hoped that my opinion would 


have been contrary to that of La Marmora. Twenty- 
four hours later, during the night of the lOth August, His 
Majesty telegraphed to me in cipher, peremptorily asking 
whether I thought the armistice arranged at Cormons, by 
order of La Marmora, between General Petitti and General 
Moring ought to be accepted or not. I replied, ' Consider- 
ing our bad strategical position, I think the armistice 
should be signed.' My reply was immediate, and des- 
patched at midnight, and I used one of the ciphers given 
to me by the king; yet next morning (I heard afterwards 
from Pettinengo) my telegram, translated, was in the 
hands of the ministers. 

The armistice was signed that same day (nth August). 
I do not suppose my advice had any weight with the king, 
or that he desired to throw any part of the responsibility 
on me. La Marmora generously assumed it all. As 
president of the Council he treated with Prussia, Austria 
and France, and knew better than anyone what dangers 
threatened us. He was daring and resolute, as he had been 
on many other occasions. The evil having been done, it 
could not have been better remedied. 

Cialdini and Garibaldi were ordered to retreat from the 
positions they occupied, and God alone knows with what a 
sore heart the hero of Nice answered the telegraphic order, 
with the simple and now famous word — ubbidisco (I 



Cialdini Chief of , the Staff of the Army — Illness of Victor Emanuel — La 
Marmora retires to Private Life — Annexation of Venetia — Enthusiastic 
Reception of Victor Emanuel in Venice — Marriage of Prince Amadeu& 
of Savoy — Death of Count di Castiglione. 

After the armistice had been signed, peace was regarded 
as a certainty, and all who were able left the camp and the 
headquarters. I retained the i6th division at Vicenza, and 
sent a large portion of the loth to Padua to guard the 
king's headquarters, which were not far from the Austrian 
outposts, and entirely denuded of troops. Absorbed by 
the difficulties of the situation, the chief of the staff had 
given no more thought to the headquarters of the general 
commander-in-chief. Victor Emanuel, with his usual active 
habits, rode all over the country, sometimes at dawn, some- 
times late in the evening, accompanied by only one aide- 
de-camp. Fortunately, these excursions were not noticed 
by the enemy. Imagine what consternation there would 
have been in the army had the Austrians taken the king 
prisoner ! 

At that moment no one thought of giving fresh orders. 
La Marmora had resigned, and Cialdini had accepted the 
position of chief of the staff of the army ; but the former 
still momentarily retained the signature, because Cialdini 
had made certain conditions, and insisted on their fulfil- 



ment before assuming office. One of the conditions was 
that La Marmora should have no active command, and not 
interfere at headquarters, or in any particular in which the 
responsibility of Cialdini was * engaged. The latter was 
still very popular, and everything he asked was conceded, 
in the hope that he would succeed better than anyone else 
in making the nation understand the necessity of bowing 
to the political exigencies of the moment. On the 25th 
August everything was settled, and General Menabrea 
started for Vienna to treat for peace. 

I wrote to Cialdini to congratulate him, and from that 
day our relations, which had been interrupted during the 
campaign, were renewed. His acceptance of such a posi- 
tion at the close of the war was incomprehensible to many ; 
but people soon understood that he had taken it in order 
to become master of the army, and, in case of need, curb 
the storm which threatened from within. 

On the 1st September I went to Padua to take leave 
of the king, who had been ordered by his doctor to return 
to Piedmont. But his departure had to be retarded for ten 
or twelve days, owing to a relapse — a threatening of 
paralysis — which fortunately passed off in twenty-four 
hours. The circumstances of the armistice, its antecedents 
and its consequences, had affected even the robust fibre of 
Victor Emanuel. He spoke but little of himself, and a 
great deal of me, and I was deeply touched when, on 
taking leave, he said, ' I wish I could compensate you in 
some way for the unjust accusations, and unpleasantness 
you have had during this campaign. However, you will 
soon return to Turin. I have insisted on your being 
reinstated in your old command. Are you satisfied ? ' 
' Yes, your Majesty,' I replied ; * but, if wanted at Verona or 
elsewhere, I should go with pleasure. I have no longer the 
same motives as some years ago to wish for the command 
at Turin at any cost.' ' I know,' said the king ; * but you will 


be happier in Turin than anywhere else. Come and see 
me often at Florence.' 

On leaving the king I stopped at Stra, a royal villa 
where Cialdini had established his headquarters. We 
talked over the war, and found that we agreed on many 
points. With more or less philosophy we discussed the 
painful impressions received since we last met. He told 
me about the political conditions of Italy from the 5th 
July to the 15th August, much of which I had already 
heard from the king.^ The day before I left Vicenza for 
Ferrara, I returned to Stra to take leave of Cialdini. He 
was out, so I left a few lines. In his answer, though 
written with his usual humour, one can read between the 
lines the bitterness we all felt.^ I also saw La Marmora 

^ Extract of Letter from General Delia Rocca to his wife. 

'Vicenza, zdSept. i866. 
* ... I have paid my two visits. The king was still unwell, and not in 
good spirits. Cialdini, on the contrary, in high good-humour ; he told me 
many things, some I knew already. . . . From what the king said, I hope 
to be in command at Turin again. . . . Judging by the telegrams of yesterday, 
one would say that in the high imperial and royal circles, French and German, 
they don't know what they are doing or saying : — 

'1st. " Austria cedes Venetia to the Emperor Napoleon." 

* 2d. " By the Treaty of Prague she assures Venetia to Italy." 

* 3d. " By the treaty signed at Paris on the 24th Austria cedes Venetia to 


* 4th. " France cedes Venetia to the municipal bodies." 

' 5th. *' A ViSi\xori2X pubis cite will decide to whom Venetia is to belong." 
' 6th. " Menabrea goes to Vienna to discuss what portion of the debt Italy 

is to assume for Venetia , . . which is not yet hers, and perhaps 

may never be ! " 

' What a mess ! . . .' 

' Stra, -z^th Sept. 1866. 

2 ' Dear Friend, — Thanks for the courteous good-bye contained in your 
kindly lines of yesterday. ... I have a presentiment that this is our last 
campaign, and as it seems that the country is not satisfied with its generals, 
we shall be beaten and demolished without ceremony. We stand in the way 
of growing ambitions, and we shall receive . . . the same kick we once gave 
to our predecessors. This is only natural, and I don't complain ; but it dis- 
tresses me to finish my career like a fool, by an odious campaign which has 
satisfied no one, and made everybody say that the Italian generals are so many 
matriculated asses.' 


at Vicenza towards the end of August, a few days after 
he had definitely retired from public life. I think he was 
thankful to be quit of the responsibility, and although 
perfectly aware of the harsh judgments passed upon him 
(with the Treaty of Cormons he had voluntarily cast his 
popularity to the winds), he was perfectly tranquil, because 
persuaded that he had saved the army and the country 
from imminent peril. He attributed the many misfortunes 
of that unfortunate campaign to various things, which may 
have contributed, but were certainly not the principal causes 
of our disasters. In my opinion, these were — ignorance of 
the positions of the enemy, and the want of the general 
commander-in-chief's headquarters on the 24th July ; want 
of unity in the command ; and the diplomatic negotiations 
(probably necessary and well conducted) which fatally inter- 
rupted and impeded the action of the army until the con- 
clusion of peace between Austria and Prussia, which left 
us alone to face the enormous forces of the enemy. 

On the 3d October the treaty ceding Venetia to France 
was signed, and immediately after the plebiscite the im- 
perial commissary, General Leboeuf, made the territory over 
to the Italian government. His presence and manners were 
not calculated to calm the irritation existing between the 
Italians and the French. The plebiscite — 647,384 favour- 
able votes against 69 negatives — was a consolation to Victor 
Emanuel, who suffered more for the Italian cause in the 
year 1866 than ever before. Early in November I assisted 
at the reception of the Venetian deputation, which pre- 
sented to the sovereign the Act of Annexation, the result 
of the plebiscite^ and the homage of his new subjects. 

The king had insisted on receiving the Venetian 
deputation in his ex-capital, where he had received the 
Lombard, Tuscan, Parma, Piacenza and Romagna depu- 
tations. It was a kind of last homage rendered to the 
city which had been the cradle and the centre of the 



movement for the renascence, the independence and the 
unity of Italy. 

After the ceremony Victor Emanuel sent for me to 
his apartments, and invited me to accompany him to 
Venice. He then told me of some disagreeable things 
which had happened in his military and civil court. 
Good-natured General Rossi, who succeeded me as first 
aide-de-camp to the king, was indirectly responsible, as 
he had never made his authority felt over the military 
court. He had sent in his resignation on account of bad 
health, and the king asked if I would resume my old 
position. I thanked His Majesty for this fresh proof of 
benevolence, but observed that if 1 accepted I should 
have to resign my military command, and that on the 
morrow of so unfortunate a campaign I did not think I 
was justified to do so in order to take a pleasant and 
honourable position. I reminded the king that some 
years before, at Naples, he had insisted on my retaining 
the command when I wished to follow him to Turin, say- 
ing that he was as jealous of my military reputation as I 
was myself, and would not allow me to quit a position in 
which he was kind enough to say I rendered good service. 
Now circumstances were more serious, and I could not 
leave my position of military commander on active service 
for the attractive post of his first aide-de-camp. The king 
remained silent for a moment, then jumped up and shook 
my hand, saying, M Fa rasonJ'^ But his voice had a 
tone of regret which touched me. 

The king entered Venice on the 7th November, amid 
such frantic enthusiasm that he was visibly moved. I 
doubt whether any sovereign was ever so heartily cheered 
as Victor Emanuel between 1859 and 1870. 

According to the treaty of September 1864 the French 
troops evacuated Rome about two months after the peace 

^ * You are right.' 


of Vienna, and Ricasoli was treating with the Holy See on 
the lines laid down by Cavour — a free Church in a free State. 
Through my brother Frederick, who was on a secret mission 
to the pontifical government, Pius IX. sent affectionate 
messages to the king, who thought he might obtain better 
terms from the Pope than his government could hope for. 
But the Holy Father's benevolence was confined to words, 
and a few slight concessions regarding the vacant bishops' 
sees. Ricasoli was most anxious to come to some under- 
standing, and made large financial concessions in the 
hope of tempting the Pope and the clergy. Although 
the negotiations were secret, some information had leaked 
out, and raised a storm of discontent in the Chambers and 
the country. The Venetians were particularly violent, and 
the ministry suspended public meetings in Venetia. But 
hostile manifestations still continued, and in February 
Ricasoli dissolved the Chambers. The new elections 
(loth March) greatly increased the power of the Opposi- 
tion ; Ricasoli fell, Cialdini attempted in vain to form a 
ministry, and Victor Emanuel then called in Rattazzi, 
who in a few days succeeded in presenting to the king a 
Cabinet, culled from every party in Parliament. 

In the spring of 1868 the advocate Cassinis, an honest 
man, who had been a minister of the crown several times, 
and was a devoted adherent of the royal family, and a 
friend of the family Pozzo della Cisterna, suggested a 
marriage between Prince Amadeus, second son of the 
king, and the only daughter and heiress of Prince della 
Cisterna. The two young people were engaged for two 
months, and married at Turin on the 30th May. My wife 
was ill at Florence, so I was not at the marriage, and next 
day we heard the sad news of the sudden death of Count 
di Castiglione. Verasis di Castiglione was my wife's first 
cousin, and our intimate friend. He had just been named 
first equerry and director of the royal stables, and con- 


sidered it his duty to accompany the royal princes from 
Turin to the castle of Stupinigi, where they were to pass 
the honeymoon. Just before reaching the castle Castiglione 
was seized with a fit of apoplexy, and fell dead from his 
horse, almost under the wheels of the carriage. He was 
the husband of the beautiful countess so well known under 
the Second Empire, and was still passionately in love 
with her, although they had been separated for several 


I 867- I 870 

Garibaldi preaches Rebellion, is Imprisoned, then sent to Caprera — Escapes 
and beats the Papal Troops at Monte Rotondo — Mentana — Marriage 
of Prince Humbert and Princess Margaret of Savoy — Alarming Illness 
of the King — Birth of the Prince of Naples — Rome, Capital of Italy. 

In the spring of 1867 Garibaldi was in Tuscany, preaching 
rebellion against the government, which, he believed, had 
an understanding with the Pope, and urging the people to 
elect deputies capable of leading the Italians to Rome. 
His language was so violent that it became absolutely 
necessary to arrest him. He was taken to Alessandria 
and imprisoned in the fortress ; but this raised such a 
storm of protests, and increased the unpopularity of Rattazzi 
to such an extent, that Garibaldi was released from prison 
and sent to Caprera, escorted by several ships of war, 
which remained to watch the island. 

Notwithstanding the absence of Garibaldi, volunteers 
continued to assemble on the pontifical frontier. The 
French government sent a note to remind the Italian 
government of the conditions of the Convention of Sep- 
tember 1864, which imposed upon France the duty of 
protecting the frontiers of the Papal dominions. Not 
receiving an immediate answer, the emperor despatched 
troops to Toulon to embark on the fleet destined for 
Civitavecchia. Rattazzi had delayed his answer, trying to 



strike a balance on the Roman question between the 
observance of the treaty and the wishes of the nation. 
Encouraged by the example of Cavour in i860, when no 
convention existed between France and Italy, he secretly 
protected Garibaldi. It was also said that his wife, a 
cousin of the emperor's, wrote from Paris that he need pay 
no attention to the threats, which were only made to 
satisfy public opinion in France. Rattazzi, as I have said, 
treated the first French despatch as of no account, and 
contented himself with declaring in Parliament that the 
government had no intention of violating the Conven- 
tion of September, but he took no measures against the 
invading bands. 

Then came the news that Garibaldi had escaped from 
Caprera and was in Tuscany, and, immediately afterwards, 
that the emperor had ordered his fleet to start for Civita- 
vecchia. Victor Emanuel understood the danger, dis- 
missed the Rattazzi ministry and wrote to the emperor, 
to assure him that the Convention should be respected. 
Napoleon thereupon suspended the departure of the fleet, 
and awaited the end of the crisis. 

Cialdini was charged with the formation of a new 
ministry, but, wishing to please all parties, was so slow 
that, after a week, the king lost patience, and took matters 
into his own hands. In twenty-four hours his chief aide- 
de-camp^ had made a ministry, of which Gualterio and 
Cambray-Digny formed part. But precious time had been 
lost, and it was too late. The volunteers had crossed the 
frontier. Garibaldi had passed through Florence, and, join- 
ing his followers at Monte Rotondo, had beaten the Papal 
troops. Victor Emanuel issued a proclamation to protest 
against their action ; but meanwhile the French troops had 
disembarked at Civitavecchia, with orders to attack the 
invaders of the Pontifical territory. We were then forced 

^ General Menabrea. 


to send our troops across the confines ^ to assist in re- 
establishing order and law! Everyone knows how it ended. 
Caught between two fires, the Papal troops on one side 
and the French chassepots on the other, the Garibaldians 
were beaten at Mentana. Doggedly faithful to his pro- 
gramme, which was not that of September, Garibaldi 
crossed the frontier, was arrested, and taken first to the 
fortress of Varignano, and then to Caprera, under strict 

1868 and 1869 were uneventful years in the foreign 
politics of Italy. The French continued to hold Civita- 
vecchia, thus, in fact, abrogating the Convention of Sep- 
tember. Relations between the two countries became 
strained ; the chassepots qui avaient fait merveilles against 
untrained and undisciplined youths certainly did not do 
merveilles in favour of French interests. The bitter and 
imperious words of certain ministers of the emperor — 
' Que les Italiens nauraient jamais Rome^ and ' Que le 
drapeau franqais flatter ait toujours sur le Vatican^ — had the 
natural result that, when France was at war with Prussia 
in 1870, she no longer found in Italy the ally she might 
reasonably have counted upon between 1859 to 1867. 

In spite of ministerial changes Menabrea remained 
President of the Council until the last days of 1869. The 
financial question was always the difficulty. Italy was 
made, and had been on the eve of conquering her capital. 
But it had cost money. Every year showed a deficit of 
several millions, and during those years the unpopular 
laws of Ferrari, Cambray-Digny and Sella were proposed 
and passed — the tobacco monopoly, the grist tax, the tax 
on the public funds, etc., etc. 

On 22d April 1868 the heir to the throne married his 
cousin, the young Princess of Savoy, daughter of the Duke 
of Genova and the Princess Elizabeth of Saxony. The 
marriage was extremely popular, especially in Turin, 


where Princess Margaret — handsome, good and intelligent 
— was adored. Her departure was a great loss to my 
daughters, who were companions of the young princess. 
The following year my eldest daughter married Count 
Francesetti di Hautecoeur, lieutenant in the Piacenza 

Towards the end of 1869 the king was ill at San 
Rossore (near Pisa). The symptoms were so alarming 
that His Majesty asked for the last sacraments. Menabrea 
sent at once to the Archbishop of Pisa to request him to 
send a priest with the viaticum. The Archbishop sent a 
young priest, with orders to read a declaration to the king, 
and obtain his signature to it before granting absolution. 
This was nothing less than a formal retractation of all the 
acts committed during the reign of Victor Emanuel 
contrary to the rights of the Holy See. But the king, who 
was perfectly conscious, and preserved his strength of 
mind, refused to sign, on the plea that it was a public act, 
which he could only sign in the presence of his ministers. 
* The prime minister is in the next room,' he said, ' go and 
show him the paper.' Agitated and trembling, the young 
priest obeyed. Menabrea, furiously angry, threatened to 
have him arrested and put in prison if he persisted in 
refusing absolution, as the law punishes severely any 
attempt to coerce the conscience of a dying person. The 
priest, thoroughly frightened, returned to the room of the 
king who received absolution and the last sacrament in 
the presence of the heir-apparent, of the Prince of 
Carignano, of the Countess Mirafiore (to whom he had 
been privately married a short time before), of Menabrea, 
and of a few of the high officials of the Court. A few 
days later Princess Margaret gave birth in Naples to a 
son, who was named Victor Emanuel, and received the 
title of Prince of Naples. 

The new session opened with a series of hostile 


demonstrations against the ministry, once more re-formed 
under Menabrea. The government put forward Adrian 
Mari as their nominee for the presidency of the Chamber, 
but he was beaten by a large majority by G. Lanza. In such 
cases, which are rare, Parliamentary custom demands that 
the new president of the Chambers should be called to 
form a ministry. The king had only just returned from 
San Rossore ; he was still unwell, and regretted the fall of 
Menabrea. Instead of receiving Lanza at once, he sent 
to propose various combinations for the new ministry, in 
which he desired to have, if not Menabrea, at all events 
Gualterio and Cambray-Digny. Lanza refused to accept 
any suggestions, and difficulties arose, which prolonged the 
abnormal situation. 

Just at this time I was summoned to Florence by the 
illness of my brother Frederick, prefect of the palace. 
Lanza had just seen the king, and told him frankly that 
the majority in the Chambers was against Menabrea, and 
that he could not undertake to form a ministry in which 
any member of the Court entered. He quoted the 
example of England, the model constitutional kingdom, 
where not only men filling positions about the Court were 
debarred from becoming ministers, but even the high 
Court officials were changed with the change of parties. 
Lanza therefore declared that he felt constrained to 
decline the mandate, unless the king removed from his 
Court the three high officials who had been in the late 
ministry — Menabrea, Gualterio and Cambray-Digny. 
Victor Emanuel demanded two days for reflection, and 
then acceded to the request ; and Lanza at once formed his 

In January my brother Frederick died, aged only 54, 
and I returned to Turin, where my wife and daughters 
(Countess Francesetti was there with her husband) did all 
they could to mitigate my sorrow. The following May 


she augmented our family by a baby girl, called Margaret 
after the Crown Princess, who was her godmother. The 
baby has in her turn grown up, is married to Colonel 
di Robilant, and has made me a great grandfather. 

When the high military commands were abolished in 
1867 I was asked to say what post, suitable to my 
seniority and rank, I wished for. I replied by placing 
myself unreservedly at the disposition of the government 
for any military service they considered me capable of 
A few months later the minister of war offered me the 
command of the troops in the southern provinces. But 
the impressions received in 1861 had been too strong. 
I remembered the impossibility of obtaining men and 
money, without which it was impossible to attempt to 
cope with the brigandage which still infested the country, 
and I refused. My occupations were therefore reduced to 
the presidency of the military order of Savoy, and my 
work on the commission for the defence of the State. In 
1867 I was occupied with the defence of the frontiers of 
the Venetian provinces, in 1868 with those of Naples, and 
in 1870 with the fortifications of Rome. I went to Rome 
a month after the entry of our troops, and was joined by 
my wife and second daughter. We were caught by a 
great inundation of the Tiber, and for two days could not 
get out of the Hotel de Rome in Piazza S. Carlo. The 
officers of the commission fished for and caught two or 
three tables as they whirled past our first floor windows, 
and cleverly used them as rafts. They went to the Piazza 
di Spagna and other dry spots, and brought us back the 

The plebiscite in Rome and in the province, in favour 
of annexation to Italy, had taken place a few days before 
our arrival, and Michelangelo Caetani, Duke of Ser- 
monata, went at the head of a deputation to Florence to 
announce it to the king. The Parliamentary elections 


took place in November, and on the 5th, for the first time, 
Roman deputies took their seats in the Italian Chambers. 
The day before, the 4th, the king received at Pitti Palace 
the deputation of the Cortes, which came to offer the 
crown of Spain to his second son, Prince Amadeus, Duke 
of Aosta. The transfer of the Parliament and government 
from Florence to Rome was to take place in June 1871, 
when the Quirinal would be ready to receive the royal 
family. There was a great difference of opinion between 
Lanza and Sella as to the best time for the king to visit 
the capital. Sella wanted him to go at once. Where His 
Majesty would have lodged, I know not. Lanza insisted 
that the king should not precede the government and the 
Parliament. He threatened to resign if his opinion was 
overruled, and Victor Emanuel was reluctantly about to 
give way when the inundation cut the gordian knot, inspir- 
ing him with the happy idea of going amongst his new 
subjects in their time of trouble. He arrived in Rome 
early in the morning, visited, amid the hearty cheers of 
the people, the parts of the city which had suffered the 
most and left late in the evening for Florence. 

In January my wife and daughter went to pass some 
time in Florence, where they met Baron G. Sonnino, who, 
in April, became engaged to my daughter Helen. They 
were married at Turin in September, twenty-two years 
after my own marriage. My military career and my func- 
tions as father of a family ceased almost at the same time. 
I was consoled by the birth of five grandchildren, who 
have been the joy and .delight of my old age. 


When in October 1896 my husband dictated the last 
chapter of his memoirs, and declared the work was finished, 
the whole family protested. We endeavoured to persuade 
him that his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren 
would be but ill-satisfied at his biography being brought 
to a close without giving any account of the years between 
1 87 1 and 1896. The general thought to silence us by 
saying, *A happy nation has no history. During these 
twenty-five years I have been a happy man, and therefore 
have nothing to narrate.' 

'One of those years, 1878, was an unhappy one,' we 
objected; *and you must say in what a grandfather's 
happiness consists. It will be a great joy to the children, 
and also redound to the honour of those who have made 
you happy.' He smiled and answered, * Very well ; I 
will talk about my family, and then ? ' ' Your agricultural 
pursuits, your wine-making, the Institute for Soldiers' 
Daughters, which has been your second family.' Thus, 
little by little, we arranged the plan of our work. But 
the autumn chills of Luserna drove us to the home of 
our second daughter in Tuscany ; and then we went to 
Rome to stay with our eldest daughter. Everyone wanted 
to read the autobiography, and then declared it must 
be published. The general was, however, so averse to 
making public what had been written solely for the family 
that we were obliged to come to a compromise, and 
content ourselves with the permission to publish the first 
volume only. 

The correction of the proofs kept us busy during the 



winter of 1897, and the epilogue, already commenced, was 
laid aside. My husband was then in excellent health ; the 
pages were read and re-read to him, and he suppressed or 
added paragraphs with perfect clearness of intellect. The 
first volume appeared on the 20th June, the general's 
ninetieth birthday, and had an immediate success, so much 
so, that a hostile paper called it the ' Idol of the Day.' 

Twenty-two days afterwards, at Luserna, I read him a 
letter from the publisher, saying that the first edition was 
exhausted, and asking leave to publish a second — a popular 
edition. The general was not well ; he was in the garden, 
where he had passed the day under the trees, and his chair 
had just been drawn into the open in order that he might 
enjoy the last rays of the setting sun. I see him now, his 
head resting on his hand, and his elbow on the arm of his 
chair, as with half-playful, half-sceptical smile, he said, 
*Well, I suppose now I must believe it is a success. 
Money is not words. If the publisher is satisfied with the 
sale of the book, it means that people like it.' 

A few days later the illness from which he had been 
suffering for some weeks made rapid progress, and a 
month later, on the 12th August, he passed from the arms 
of his dear ones to those of God. Eight months have 
elapsed. With a sad heart, I must finish alone the epilogue 
we began together. 




The last twenty-five years of the life of General Henry 
Delia Rocca, from 1872 to 1897, may be described in a few- 
lines by amplifying a saying of his on his return to Luserna 
after the unfortunate campaign of 1866: — The month of 
October spent among my dear ones passed like a single 
cloudless day.' 

They were calm and peaceful years, clouded only by 
the disappearance of one or another of those to whom he 
had dedicated the devotion of a lifetime or a brotherly 
friendship. The friends of his youth had been dead for 
years, and this last period of his life was saddened by the 
loss of many he loved, and who were much younger than 
himself; above all, by the death of King Victor Emanuel, 
whose character and disposition he probably knew better 
than anyone, and to whom he was absolutely devoted. 

Between 1870 and 1880 five grandchildren were born to 
us — four girls and a boy. The children loved him dearly, 
for he knew how to make himself a child with children. 
One day, when past seventy, I found him in the garden 
teaching the little girls how to skip. He was showing them 
how to make the rope pass twice under one's feet in one 
skip, and did it again and again with extraordinary agility 
for his age. 

As an outlet for his energy and vigour he took to farm- 
ing, or, rather, vine-growing, in 1869 and 1870. On a small 
scale, it is true, but with as much zeal as though the yield 



of that small piece of land was 100,000 francs instead of 
1000 or 2000. 

Between 1870 and 1880, in obedience to my often- 
expressed wish, the general began to write down his 
memories. On loose sheets of paper he noted down an 
episode, an event, or a biography of some illustrious per- 
sonage he had known, and threw them into a drawer with- 
out date or order. He consigned them all to me in 1884, 
when he ceased to write, and they were very useful when, 
in 1893, he began to dictate his memoirs. It is a comfort 
to me to think that this occupation was an amusement to 
him. We lived the old days over again together, and called 
up memories of beloved friends. He was proud of his 
excellent memory, narrated simply and ingenuously, and 
his descriptions were so graphic that one saw the people 
and heard them talk. Of himself he talked without osten- 
tation or exaggerated modesty, describing what he had 
done and why he did it, and all he had seen and thought, 
never thinking that his words would be read outside his 
own family. 

The general was one of the promoters of the National 
Institute for Soldiers' Daughters, and worked hard as vice- 
president from 1867, when it was founded, until 1874, when 
he was named president, an office he kept till his death. 

1878 was the saddest, or, rather, the only sad, year of 
the last period of the life of General Delia Rocca. It opened 
with the death of Alphonse La Marmora and alarming 
rumours about the health of the king. The general at once 
left for Rome, but arrived too late to see Victor Emanuel 
alive. On receiving my husband's telegram I at once 
joined him at Rome. Sad and miserable were the days 
we spent at the hotel, and saddest of all the nth January, 
the day of the funeral. I assisted my husband to put on 
his uniform, covered with medals and decorations, and 
observed that he was deadly pale. I was unhappy and 


anxious, knowing what his feelings were, and would be, 
during the long ceremony and slow march beside the coffin, 
for he, as doyen of the Order of the Annunziata, was one of 
the pall-bearers. 

We stayed a few days in Rome to tender our condol- 
ences and do homage to the new king and queen. Just as 
we were starting for Turin the general was informed that 
he had been designated as ambassador extraordinary to 
Paris and London to announce the death of Victor 
Emanuel and the advent to the throne of Humbert I., 
On our way to Turin he asked me to go with him, as 
none of the officers of the Embassy knew English. 

At the Elys^e the general met two companions-at-arms 
of 1859 — MacMahon, President of the Republic, and 
Marshal Canrobert Canrobert told him it was the first 
time he had dined at the Elysee, though often invited, and 
that he had accepted only to meet him and hear about 'the 
last years of Victor Emanuel. 

We waited several days in London, as the Queen had 
gone to the Isle of Wight ; and on her return we were in- 
vited to Windsor for two days. The Queen spoke several 
times to the general about Victor Emanuel, whose name 
had become the centre of a sort of heroic and popular 
legend, in which, as in all legends, some truth was mixed 
with fiction. Her Most Gracious Majesty, as they call the 
Queen in England, asked particularly about the events of 
the last twenty years, and courteously recalled having seen 
the general in 1855, when the king was in England. She 
ordered a picture of the military review given in his honour, 
and sent it to Turin as a present to my husband. With 
me she talked of Queen Adelaide, and made many in- 
quiries about young Queen Margaret, for whom she gave 
me two richly-bound volumes — The Life of the Prince 
Consort, written by herself. 

In 1 88 1 a friend persuaded the general to send some of 


his grapes and samples of his wine to a viticultural exhi- 
bition at Pinerolo. I seem to see his happy face on the 
arrival of a diploma of merit ; I really think it gave him 
more pleasure than all the ribbons and decorations he had 
received from the principal European Courts. To these 
he attached little importance, he only valued his war 
medals and the decorations given for services rendered 
to his country. 

In 1 887, when he was eighty years old, though he still read 
without glasses, his sight began to fail. Incipient cataract, 
which never came to maturity, declared itself, and glasses 
were of no avail. Blindness came on gradually, but never 
became total ; so to the last he had the comfort of seeing 
the light, especially the sun. How he waited for it ! How 
he enjoyed it ! He begged that his shutters might be left 
open in order to see the sun rise; he welcomed it every 
morning with fresh delight, because it told him that he 
was ■ not totally blind. His great amusement at Rome 
was to hear the first news from Montecitorio, the Con- 
sulta, Palazzo Braschi and Palazzo Madama. He waited 
with evident impatience for the evening paper, and still 
more for the friends and some of the deputies who came to 
tell him the news of the day. During the last twenty-five 
years of his life he followed the vicissitudes of his country 
and the acts of our sovereigns with the deepest interest, 
and delighted in the popularity of the young princes. The 
last paper that was read to him, on the 9th August 1897, 
contained the news that the Count of Turin was going 
to vindicate the outraged honour of Italians, and he 
exclaimed, ' Bravo ! Bravissimo ! ' His good wishes may 
have brought good luck to the young prince. 

And now it may be permitted to her who passed forty- 
eight years by his side, and knev/ how frank and upright 
was his character, and how kind and good his heart, to say 
how he practised the philosophy of life. He liked neither 



the name nor the abstract science of philosophy, and often 
playfully rallied me on my taste for metaphysical reading. 
' Philosophy, my dear, is to be practised, not read,' he 
would say ; and he did practise it. He never exaggerated 
the misfortunes and ills of this life, but bore them, not with 
passive resignation, but with courage and serenity — Loetus 
in fronte and loetus in pectore — during the twenty years 
when he lived forgotten at Turin and Luserna, and during 
the three last years, when his residence at Rome, so to 
speak, exhumed him from oblivion, and when his presence 
in the Senate and at the Quirinal reminded people that 
the veteran of 1848 and 1849 was still alive. He carried it 
out when, in May 1897, he strolled down the Corso with his 
grand-daughter on his arm, to take his customary glass of 
vermouth, or go for flowers to bring home ; and when he 
sat in the rocking-chair, singing old Piedmontese songs to 
himself, and smoking his cigar. 

He was so absolutely truthful that his word could 
never be doubted. People who only saw him once or 
twice, or at long intervals, thought him cold, because he 
was reserved, and had an aversion to paying compliments 
or saying what he did not feel. But they were wrong ; he 
was often silent to hide his emotion. This frankness, which 
in youth may have been a drawback, stood him in good 
stead with Victor Emanuel, who appreciated the truth 
spoken opportunely and for a good reason, as he appre- 
ciated that practical good sense, so much like his own. 

To find a man so devoid of egoism as was the general 
is rare. He always thought of others first ; and although, 
in the last years of his life he disliked any change in his 
habits, he was ready to do anything he thought would be 
for the good or the pleasure of those about him. 

On 1 2th August 1897 he received the last sacraments, 
and died in his villa at Luserna, sitting in his favourite 
armchair, calm and silent, with the sad look of one who* 


deeply feels and sorrows over the separation from all his 
beloved ones, whose warm affection he felt till the last. 

The body was taken to Turin, to the house he had 
lived in for more than forty years, and on i6th August — 
a sad, rainy morning — it was carried to the church on a 
gun-carriage, followed by the troops in garrison and car- 
riages laden with wreaths. Thence it was taken to the 
cemetery of Turin, placed in a temporary sarcophagus, 
raised above ground like those of the ancients. The face 
was turned towards the hill of Superga, where rests the 
great initiator of the independence and unity of Italy, his 
wife Maria Theresa, and the gentle and saintly Queen Maria 
Adelaide, wife of the hero who sleeps in the Pantheon. 

I must not lay down my pen without fulfilling a 
wish my husband expressed five years since, on an April 
morning in 1893. He was still in bed, dictating the auto- 
biography with such rapidity that I could scarcely follow 
him. The arrival of the morning papers, describing the 
rejoicings on the occasion of the silver wedding of the 
king and queen, interrupted us. When in Rome, in March, 
we had presented our congratulations to their majesties 
for the coming anniversary, and had been asked to dine 
privately at the Quirinal. Afterwards the queen and the 
prince questioned the general about the customs of the 
old Piedmontese Court, which he had known so well. The 
general listened while I read the description of the beauty, 
the grace, the triumphs of Queen Margaret, who attracted 
all eyes amid the queens and princesses assembled to cele- 
brate the silver wedding, and then said, ' Some day, per- 
haps, when I am gone, the queen may like to read my old 
stories. Were I a poet or a literary man, capable of com- 
posing a fine dedication, I would dedicate these pages to 
her ; but I do not know how to say what I feel. Please, 
however, put on record that to-day, 23d April 1893, ^^ 


who was sent to Saxony to ask the hand of her mother, 
the Princess Elizabeth, for the Duke of Genova, and who 
the following year was among the first to see the infant 
girl, sends her a greeting and a hurrah on the occasion of 
her silver wedding ; proclaims her the most popular, the 
most graceful and gracious of reigning queens, and himself 
the most affectionate admirer and devoted subject of the 
Queen of Italy, as he was of the youthful Princess Margaret 
of Savoy.' 


Albert, Archduke of Austria, 256, 
260 ; returns to Italy after Sadowa, 

Prince (the Prince Consort), 


Amadeus, Duke of Aosta, 246 ; 
wounded at Custoza, 250, 259 
(note) ; marriage of, 275 ; crown 
of Spain offered to, 283. 

Angouleme, Due d', 23 (and note), 24. 

Antonelli, Cardinal, 182. 

Aosta, Duchess of. See Maria Theresa 
of Este. 

Austrians, the, turned out of Milan, 
53 ; retire towards the Adige, 57 ; 
driven back to Pastrengo, 58, 59, 
60 ; driven across the Adige, 61, 
63, 64 ; attempt to turn our right 
at Goito, 72; withdraw, 73, 75; 
number of, 77 ; occupy hills 
opposite Villafranca, 80 ; take 
Duke of Savoy's position at Cus- 
toza, 82 ; repulse De Sonnaz at 
Volta, 83, 85; in Milan, 89 (and 
note), 90, 93 ; cross the Ticino, 94, 
98 ; occupy half of the citadel of Ales- 
sandria, 108 ; evacuate the kingdom 
of Sardinia, 109 ; said to number 
over 200,000 men, 136; prepare to 
cross the Sesia, 140 ; defeated at 
Palestro, 143, 144 ; cross the Ticino 
by a forced march, 146 ; are beaten 
at Magenta, 149 ; under Urban, 
followed by Delia Rocca, 151 ; 
retreat beyond the Mincio, 154; 
recross the Mincio, are beaten at 
Solferino, 158, 159, 160, 163, 
234 ; occupy the heights of Cus- 
toza, 245, 249 ; occupy heights of 
Beretara in force, 250, 259 (note) ; 
retreat after Sadowa, 261, 262 ; 
retire from the Quadrilateral, 264. 

Azeglio, D', Christine, Marchioness, 

Emanuel, Marquis, 121. 

Massimo, Marquis, 2, 44 ; pre- 
sident of the Council, 108, 109, no, 
115, 116, 120, 121, 225. 


Baraguay D'Hilliers, Marshal, 
135, 141, 142, 147, 149, 150, 158. 

Bava, E., General, 55, 59, 63, 64, 
65 ; ordering retreat of Cuneo 
brigade, 66, 71, 72, 75, 76, 78, 80, 
81, 82 ; reluctantly falls back on 
Milan, 84, 85, 87, 88 ; acutely feels 
unjust criticisms, 90 ; publishes his 
account of campaign of 1848, 91, 93. 

Benedek, General von, at S. Mar- 
tino, 159, 162. 

Bianze, Caspar Morozzo, Marquis of; 
new ideas hateful to, 2, 3, 4. 

Bixio, Nino, General, 178, 198, 240, 
243, 244, 249, 251 ; recommended 
by Delia Rocca as chief of the 
staff, 253. 

Cadorna, R., Colonel, afterwards 

General, 93, 158, 181, 234. 
Canrobert, Marshal, 134, 135 ; a 

good officer, 142, 145, 160, 288. 
Carbonari, the, 12, 14, 15, 16, 27, 29. 
Carignano, Princess of. See Maria 

Theresa, Archduchess of Austria. 

Prince of. See Charles Albert. 

Prince Eugene of, viceroy of 

the kingdom of Sicily, 205, 206, 

207 (note), 210, 212, 223. 
Cattaneo, Charles, a leader of ' Young 

Italy,' 29. 




Cavalli, General, 24 ; as a boy, 25. 

Cavour, Camillo, Count of, 10, 13 
(and note) ; as a boy, 25, 43 ; a 
newspaper editor, 49, 50 (note) ; 
becomes prime minister, 116; 
makes a treaty with France and Eng- 
land, 117, 119; arranges first loan 
with Rothschild, 120 ; success in 
Paris of, 124, 125, 127, 128, 129, 132, 
133, 135 ; arrives at headquarters, 
164 ; loses his self-control, and is 
insolent to the king, 165 ; resigna- 
tion of, 166, 169 ; is reconciled to 
the king, and again becomes prime 
minister, 172 ; dissolves the Cham- 
bers and reopens the question of 
Savoy and Nice with Napoleon, 
I73> 174 J attacked by Garibaldi, 
175' 178 ; decides to assist Gari- 
baldi, 179, 189, 190, 206 ; letter 
from to Delia Rocca, 207 ; death 
of, 211. 

Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano, 
afterwards King of Sardinia, 6, 7, 
8 (and note, genealogical table), 9 ; 
marriage of, 10, 1 1 ; scene at Court 
ball, 14 ; Liberals centre their hopes 
on, 1 5 ; regarded as a traitor by all 
parties, 16 ; offered leadership of 
revolutionary party, warns the king, 

1 7 ; advocates granting concessions, 

18 ; is named regent, 19 ; signs the 
Constitution conditionally, is exiled 
by the king, 20, 21 ; joins the Due 
d'Angouleme in Spain, distinguishes 
himself at the Trocadero, 23 ; re- 
called to Turin, 24, 25, 26 ; succeeds 
to the throne, is regarded as a 
Carbonaro, 27 ; character of, 28 ; 
refuses to listen to Mazzini, 29, 
30 ; threatened by Mazzinians and 
Jesuits, 31, 33, 34, 36, 38, 39, 40, 
41 (note), 42 ; gives fites at Rac- 
conigi to his sister the Vice-Queen 
of Lombardy, 43 ; indecision of, 
44, 45 ; letter from, 46 (note) ; 
grants reforms, 47 ; grants the 
Constitution, 52 ; promises aid to 
Lombardy, 53 ; enters Pavia after 
declaration of war, 55, 56, 58, 60 ; 
charges at the head of the carabin- 
eers, 61 ; attempts to take Verona, 
63 ; orders the retreat, 66, 69, 72 ; 
announces fall of Peschiera, 74 (and 
note), *](> ; resolves to blockade 
Mantua, 78, 79, 80, %2, 85 ; offers 

to surrender Milan, 86 ; is besieged 
by the mob, 87 ; leaves Milan, 88, 
90 ; crosses the Mincio, 94, 95, 96 ; 
abdicates, 99 ; dies at Oporto, 109, 
III, 114, 131, 153, 162. 

Charles Emanuel IV., i, 5, 6 (and 

Felix, Duke of Genevese, 9, 

II, 14 (note), 16; becomes King 
of Sardinia on the abdication of 
his brother, 19 ; refuses to receive 
Charles Albert, 20, 21 ; returns to 
Turin, 22, 23, 24 ; invites General 
Paolucci from Russia, 26 ; death 
of, 27, 53. 

Philip, Marquis Delia Rocca. 

See Delia Rocca. 

Chartres, Duke of, 146 (and note). 

Cialdini, General, 155, 180, 181 ; 
bars Lamoriciere's advance on An- 
cona, 187, 188, 189, 190, 192, 203, 
204, 234, 235 ; commands army of 
the Po, 239, 252, 253, 256 ; put in 
command of 150,000 men, 259, 261, 
262, 264, 265, 266, 269 ; becomes 
chief of the staff of the army, 270, 
271, 272 (letter and note), 275. 

Clarendon, Earl of, offers his services 
with Prussia, 215, 216. 

Clotilde, Princess of Savoy, married 
to Prince Jerome Napoleon, 133 
(note), 172. 

Crispi, Francesco, 178 (note). 

Custoza, battle of (in 1848), 81, et seq.; 
day of (in 1866), 242, et seq, 

Czarnowsky, General, "a perfect 
monkey," 91 ; is made commander- 
in-chief, 92 ; crosses the Mincio, 
94 ; retreats on Novara, 95, 96 ; 
incapacity of, 97, 98, 100. 

Della Rocca, Charles Philip, Mar- 
quis, 2, 3 (and note), 4. 

Enrico, Count (author 

of autobiography), birth and family, 
I, 2, 3, 4, 5 ; becomes page to 
Prince of Carignano, 9 ; one of 
first scholars in military college, 
10 ; stands on step of carriage at 
entry of Prince and Princess Carig- 
nano, 1 1 ; scolded by the princess, 
12 ; begins studies at the Aca- 
demy, 13 ; sees Prince of Carig- 



nano return blackened with smoke 
at Court ball, 14 ; runs away from 
Academy, 21 ; becomes a lieu- 
tenant, 25 ; enters the staff, 26 ; 
is named second equerry to King 
Charles Albert, 28 ; goes to Sar- 
dinia, 31, 32 ; accompanies Duke 
of Savoy bear -hunting, 33 ; sent on 
secret mission to France, 34, 35 ; 
returns to Turin, is named equerry 
to Victor Emanuel, Duke of Savoy, 
36 ; enters palace and bedroom of 
duke without hindrance, 38 ; be- 
lieved to have great influence over 
the duke, 42 ; goes to Paris, 43 ; 
accompanies the duke disguised 
at night, 51 ; becomes colonel and 
chief of the staff to the duke, 54, 
55> 58 5 perceives enemy about to 
strike flank, 60 ; advises barring 
Sona road, 61 ; climbs to top of 
tower at Tana, 64 ; sent to recon- 
noitre, 65 ; prepares plan to pre- 
vent a junction of Radetzky and 
Nugent, its reception by Charles 
Albert, 69 ; obtains proof that 
members of Municipal Council of 
Villafranca are traitors, 70 ; is ill, 
orders Grenadiers to charge, 72 ; 
is with duke when wounded, 73 ; 
goes to tell king his son is 
wounded, 74 ; ill, taken to Volta, 
75 ; at battle of Custoza, 81, 
82, 83 ; is put in command of 
troops round Goito, 84; goes 
to release King Charles Albert 
from mob in Milan, 87, 88 ; 
named major-general in com- 
mand of Acqui brigade, 93 ; begs 
not to be promoted, 94; in first 
line of attack, 95 ; last words of 
Charles Albert to, 96 ; leads re- 
treat on Biella, 99 ; returns to re- 
connoitre, 100 ; becomes minister 
of war, loi ; stormy scene in the 
Chambers, 103 ; loses brother in 
Genoese revolution, 104, 105 ; 
leaves ministry and marries, 1 10 ; 
goes to Dresden and Prague, 113; 
is named chief of the staff, 114, 
115; is sent on secret mission 
to Dusseldorf, 122, 123 ; be- 
comes lieutenant-general, 125 ; sent 
to Paris as ambassador extraor- 
dinary, 127 ; conversations with 
Napoleon, 128, 129, 13c, 131, 132 ; 

Princess Mathilde speaks to, 132 ; 
returns to Turin, 133, 134; has to 
think of whole allied army, 139, 
141, 142 ; has altercation with 
Froissart, 143 ; interview with 
Napoleon, 150; follows Urban, is 
stopped by French officers, 151,152 ; 
celebrates his fifty-second birthday, 
155 J accompanies Napoleon and 
Victor Emanuel, 156 ; involun- 
tarily hears a letter from the em- 
press read aloud, 157 ; sends 
to order La Marmora to assume 
command of the two corps Durando 
and Fanti, 159 ; telegraphs victory 
to Cavour, 160, 161 ; signs a 
truce at Villafranca, 164 ; Cavour 
comes to room of; 165, 166, 
168 ; goes to see Marshal Vail- 
lant, 169, 170 ; goes to Nice, 
174; made commander of 5th 
Army Corps, 175 ; is sent to com- 
pliment the ex-Duchess of Lucca, 
176, 177, 179, 180; concentrates 
his corps on Roman frontier, i8l ; 
enters Cittadi Castello, 182; besieges 
Perugia, 183,184, 185, 186, 187; 
besieges Ancona, 188, 189, 190 ; 
saves a Neapolitan general from the 
mob at Sulmona, 191, 192 ; meets 
Bishop of Alife, 193 ; meets Gari- 
baldi at Capua, 194; besieges 
Capua, 195, 196 ; goes to Caserta 
to see Garibaldi, 197 ; signs the 
capitulation of Capua, 198 ; sent to 
Naples to assume command, 199, 
200, 201, 202 ; refuses to supplant 
Cialdini, 203, 204 ; accepts mili- 
tary command of the Two Sicilies, 
205, 206 ; Cavour's letter to, 207 ; 
disgusted with want of morality 
among Neapolitans, 209, 210, 211 ; 
sent as ambassador extraordinary 
to Berlin, 212, 213, 214, 215, 
216 ; command to suppress riots in 
Turin, 220, 221; combats opinion of 
the ministers, 222 ; ordered by 
king to invite ministers to resign, 
and to take over military powers, 
223, 224, 225, 226 ; resigns post 
of first aide-de-camp, 229, 230 ; 
named commander of the 3d corps, 
234j 235 ; opinion of newspaper 
correspondents, and description 
of by correspondent of the Debuts^ 
236 (note), crosses the Mincio, 239, 



240, 241, 242, 243, establishes his 
headquarters at Villafranca, 246 ; 
searches in vain for commander- 
in-chief, 247 ; is ordered to hold 
Villafranca, 248, 249, 250 ; receives 
orders to retreat across the Mincio, 
251 ; is asked by king to take La 
Marmora's position as chief of the 
staff, he refuses, 252 ; tries to per- 
suade La Marmora to remain, 253 ; 
disagrees with La Marmora, 257, 
258 ; is visited by king at Piadena, 
259 ; meets Prince Jerome Na- 
poleon, 265 ; receives orders to go 
to Vicenza, 266 ; is consulted by 
king, 267, 268, 269, ; visits Cialdini 
at Stra, 272, 273 ; accompanies king 
to Venice, 274 ; is called to the 
deathbed of his brother at Florence, 
281 ; refuses command of troops in 
southern provinces, 282 ; end of 
military career of, 283 ; death of, 
285 ; account of by his wife, 286, 
287, 288, 289, 290, 291. 

Fanti, General, 105, 142, 144, 146, 
148, 149 ; named minister of war, 
173 ; army admirably organised by, 
180, 181 ; at siege of Perugia, 185, 
186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 192, 198, 
201, 204, 205, 206 ; death of, 231. 

Farini, Charles Louis, 171 ; home 
minister, 200, 201 ; named vice- 
roy of kingdom of Naples, 202, 217. 

Ferdinand III., Grand Duke of Tus- 
cany, 10. 

II., King of Naples, 177. 

Francis II., King of Naples, 50, 59, 

177. 179, 197, 203. 

Francis Joseph, Emperor of Austria, 
I35> 147 > commands army in 
person at Solferino, 158, 160, 161, 
163; accepts armistice, 1 64, 239,263. 

Franco-Anglo alliance and Crimean 
war, 119. 

Franzini, General, 53, 54, 56, 59, (i^^ 

Froissart, General, 135, 143, 162. 

Gallenga, a leader of Young Italy,' 

Garibaldi, Guiseppe, 31 ; volunteers 
placed under command of, 134, 
148 ; beats the Austrians at Tre 
Ponti, 155 ; upbraids Cavour in the 
Chambers, 175, 191 ; salutes Victor 
Emanuel for the first time as King 
of Italy, 193 ; commands the 
Southern Army at Capua, 194 ; 
hands over command to Delia 
Rocca, 195 ; (ill at Caserta, 197, 
198 ; Dictator of Naples, 199 ; 
drives through Naples with Victor 
Emanuel, 200 ; offers to remain as 
Viceroy at Naples, 201 ; offer of, 
refused, he leaves for Caprera, 202, 
269 ; preaches rebellion against the 
government, 277 ; secretly protected 
by Rattazzi, escapes from Caprera, 
278 ; arrest of, 279. 

Genevese, Duke of. See Charles 
Felix of Savoy. 

Duchess of. See Maria Chris- 
tine of Naples. 

Genoa, Duke of, 37 ; commands the 
artillery, 56, 58, 79 ; at Custoza, 
80, 81, 84; in Milan, 87, 96; 
has three horses killed under him, 
97, 98 ; marriage of, 113; des- 
tined to command expedition to 
the Crimea, 117 ; death of, 118. 

Gioberti, V., exiled, 30; becomes 
prime minister, 91 ; ministry of 
falls, 92. 

Giulay, Field Marshal, Count, 136 ; 
incapacity of, 137, 139, 140; 
masses his forces at Magenta, 147, 



Hudson, Sir James, 115. 

Lamartine, a. de, 52. 

Lamoriciere, General, 180, 187 ; 196 

La Marmora, Alexander, Colonel, 51, 
57, 88 ; orders retreat, 98. 

Alphonse, General, 24 ; as a 

boy, 25 ; poses as a professor, 37, 
58 ; not liked by Victor Emanuel, 
62 (and note), 84 ; minister for 
war and marine, ill, 114; com- 



mands expedition to Crimea, 117, 
134, 135. 159, 166, 171,172, 181, 
213 ; becomes prime minister, 223, 
229, 230, 231, 232, 234, 238, 
239, 240 ; rides out alone, finds 
himself on the field of battle, 246 ; 
is searched for in vain, 247 ; orders 
Delia Rocca to hold Villafranca, 
248, 249, 250, 251 ; insists on re- 
signing his post of chief of the staff, 
252, 253, 254 (and note), 257, 258 ; 
disastrous telegrams sent by, 259 
(note), 260, 261, 262, 263 ; divisional 
chief of the staff, 264 ; compelled 
to ask for an armistice, 266, 267 ; 
sacrifices his popularity to save 
Italy, 268, 269, 271 ; retires from 
public life, 272 ; death of, 287. 

La Tour, Baron, 19, 20, 21 ; Governor 
of Turin in '48, 51. 

Leo XIII. (Cardinal Pecci), 187. 

Leopold II. of Tuscany grants Con- 
stitution, 50. 


MacMahon, General, 135, 141, 148 ; 

gains battle of Magenta, is made 
Marshal of France and Duke of 
Magenta, 149 ; president of the 
French Republic, 288. 

Magenta, battle of, 148, <?/ se^. 

Mahomet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, 34. 

Margaret, Princess of Savoy, after- 
wards Queen of Italy, marriage of, 
279 ; gives birth to Prince of Naples, 
280, 282, 288, 291, 292. 

Maria Adelaide of Austria, Duchess 
of Savoy (afterwards Queen of 
Sardinia), marries Victor Emanuel, 
Duke of Savoy (afterwards Victor 
Emanuel II.), 38 ; character of, 40, 
41, 42, III, 113, 114; dies, 118, 

Christine of Naples, Duchess 

of Genevese (afterwards Queen of 
Sardinia), 8 (and note) ; named 
regent, 27. 

Maria Clotilde of France, wife of 
Charles Emanuel IV., 5. 

Elizabeth of Savoy, Arch- 
duchess of Austria and Vice- Queen 
of Lombardy, 36, 43. 

of Saxony, marries the 

Maria Theresa of Austria, Princess of 
Carignano (afterwards Queen of 
Sardinia), marries Charles Albert, 
Prince of Carignano (afterwards 
King of Sardinia), 10 ; gives birth 
to a son, 12 ; dies, 118. 

d'Este, Duchess of Aosta 

(afterwards Queen of Sardinia), 
enters Turin, 7 ; character of, 
9 ; farewell words of, 19 (and 

of Savoy, 7. 

Duke of Genoa, 113. 

Pia of Savoy, afterwards Queen 

of Portugal, birth of, 48. 

Mathilde, Princess, 132. 

Mazzini, G., writes to Charles Albert, 
29, 31, 126, 128, 130, 201, 202; 
tries to stir up discontent in the 
army, 206. 

Menabrea, General, 134, 135, 218; 
becomes prime minister, 278, 279 ; 
forces priest to give absolution to 
the king, 280; the fall of, 281. 

Mentana, battle of, 279. 

Minghetti, Marco, prime minister, 
217, 221 ; proposes to declare mar- 
tial law in Turin, 222 ; fall of, 223. 

Mirafiore, Countess of (la bella 
Rosina), as a girl, 41 (note) ; dresses 
theatrically, 190, 280. 


Napoleon I., Emperor, i, 153, 154. 

Louis, Prince, afterwards 

Emperor Napoleon III., 115, 120; 
tries to persuade Victor Emanuel 
to marry again, 122; attempted 
assassination of by Orsini, 127, 
128 ; vehemently accuses Sardinian 
government, 128, 129 ; is mollified 
by Victor Emanuel's letter, 130, 
131 ; promises aid against Austria, 
I32j 133 ; disembarks at Genoa, 
139, 141 ; meets Duke of Chartres, 
145, 147 ; creates MacMahon Duke 
of Magenta, 149, 150, 154; reads 
Empress Eugenie's letter to Victor 
Emanuel, 156, 157 ; at Solferino, 
158, 159, 162, 163, 165, 166 ; enters 
Milan, 167 ; leaves for France, 168, 
169 ; objects to annexation of 
Tuscany by Victor Emanuel, 171 ; 
covets Savoy and Nice, 173 ; 
agrees to annexations, 174, 179, 



1 80 ; has no faith in Cavour's suc- 
cessors, 217, 224, 237, 263, 267, 
272 (note), 273. 

Napoleon, Jerome, Prince, 164 ; dis- 
cussion with Cavour, 165, 166, 167 ; 
sent by the emperor to persuade 
Victor Emanuel to accede to armis- 
tice, 265. 

Niel, Marshal, 136, 141, 147, 150, 160. 

Novara, retreat on, 95, et seq. 

Nugent, General, 69, 70, "j*]. 


Orsini, Felice, a leader of 'Young 
Italy,' 29 ; attempts to assassinate 
the Emperor Napoleon III., 127, 
128 ; letter to the emperor, 132, 

Paolucci, General, invited to re- 
constitute Piedmontese army, 26 ; 
made governor of Genoa, 27. 

Palestro, battle of, 143, et seq. 

Pastrengo, battle of, 60, et seq. 

Peschiera, fortress of, fall of, 74. 

Pius IX., Pope, grants amnesty to 
political prisoners, 45, 48, 59, 275. 


Radetzky, Marshal, 39, 64, 67, 68, 
69, 70 ; marches on Vicenza, 76 ; 
returns to Verona, 'JT^ 78, 79, 83 ; 
invests Milan, Charles Albert 
capitulates, 86, 89 (note), 93, 
94, 95, 97 ; drives Italian army 
back on Novara, 98 ; lays down 
hard conditions, 99, 106 ; meets 
King Victor Emanuel at Vignale, 

Ramorino, General, 31 ; disobeys 
orders, 94 ; a traitor, 105 ; con- 
demned and shot, 106. 

Rattazzi, Urban, 217, 27$, 277, 278. 

Ricasoli Bettino, Marquis, 215 (and 
notes), 217 ; speech in favour of 
concord, 225, 265, 266, 275. 

Ruffini, L., a leader of 'Young 
Italy,' 29. 

San Martino, battle of, 160, et seq. 
Schmidt, General, commander of 

Papal troops in Perugia, 83, 184, 

185 ; made prisoner, 186. 
Solferino, battle of, 159. 

Thiers, Adolphe M., i ; takes a 

daily riding lesson, 43. 
Trochu, General, 141. 
Turr, General, 199, 200. 


Urban, General, 148, 151. 
Usedom, Count, Prussian minister at 
Florence, 238. 


Vaillant, Marshal, 139, 163, 164; 

at Milan, 169, 170. 
Venetia annexed to Italy, 273. 
Victoria, Queen, 120, 122, 288. 
Victor Amadeus II., 5 (note). 
III., 6 (note). 

— Emanuel I., 4, 5, 7 (and note), 8, 
9, 10, 14 (note), 15, 17, 18 ; abdi- 
cates and leaves for Nice, 19 ; 
urged to resume the crown but 
refuses, 22; death of, 24, 26, 27, 


Duke of Savoy (after- 

wards Victor Emanuel II.), 6 ; 
birth of, 12, 33, 36 ; marriage 
of, 40, 41, 42 ; goes among the 
crowd disguised, 50, 51 ; com- 
mands a division, 54, 55, 56, 57, 
60; dislikes La Marmora, 62, 69, 
70, 71, 72; is wounded, 73, 78, 
79 ; storms Monte Torre, 80 ; at 
Custoza, 81-87, 90j 94> 9S> 
96 ; becomes king, 99, 100 ; un- 
affected by serious state of affairs, 
lOi ; first ministry of, 102, 106 ; 
meets Radetzky, 107, 108, 109, ill, 
114, 115; summons Cavour to 
form a ministry, 116 ; goes to Paris 
and London, 120, 121, 122, 



127 ; letter of read to Napoleon, 
130, 131, 132, 133 ; saying of, about 
Giulay, 137 ; receives Don Neri 
Corsini, 138, 140, 141 ; cheered by 
the French soldiers, 142 ; charges 
with the Zouaves, 144, 145 ; pre- 
sented with the stripes of a corporal 
by the Zouaves, 146 ; receives 
Milanese deputation, 150; accepts 
sovereignty of Lombardy, 151 ; at 
Milan, 154 ; enters Brescia, 155 ; 
rides out with Napoleon, 156, 157 ; 
at S. Martino, 159, 160, 161, 162, 
163 ; stormy interview with Cavour, 
165 ; refuses to accede to Cavour 's 
wish, signs treaty of Villafranca, 
166 : enthusiastically received at 
Milan, 167, 169, 170, 171 ; is re- 
conciled to Cavour and appoints him 
prime minister, 172, 173, 174 ; gains 
seven or eight millions of subjects 
by the loss of two or three millions, 
175 ; visits the new provinces, 176, 
178 ; told to be quick by Napoleon, 
180; enters Ancona, 189, 190; 
marches towards the Garigliano, 
192 ; beats the Bourbon troops, 
193 ; letter of to Delia Rocca, 
195 (note), 196 ; averse to dis- 
banding Garibaldians, 198; entry 
into Naples, 200 ; interview of with 
Garibaldi, 201, 203 ; leaves for 

Turin, 205 ; acknowledged by Eng- 
land as King of Italy, 210, 212 ; 
received with enthusiasm by French 
sailors at Naples, 217, 218; dis- 
misses Minghetti, 223, 224 ; leaves 
Turin for new capital, Florence, 
229, 230, 231, 234; declares war 
on Austria, 239 ; at Villafranca, 
248, 249 ; wishes Delia Rocca to 
assume La Marmora's position, 252, 
253, 254 (note) ; goes to Delia 
Rocca at Piadena, 259, 260 ; Na- 
poleon's unexpected proposal to, 
263, 265 ; sends for Delia Rocca, 
267, 268, 270; ill at Padua, 271 ; 
receives Venetian deputation, 273 ; 
enters Venice, 274 ; makes Rattazzi 
prime minister, 275 ; protests 
against Garibaldi's action, 278 ; 
alarming illness of, 280 ; makes 
Lanza prime minister, 281 ; goes 
to Rome, 283 ; death of, 287 ; 
Queen Victoria speaks about, 288. 
Visconti-Venosta, Marquis, 218, 265, 


William I., King of Prussia, coro- 
nation of, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 


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